Sunday, May 3, 2009
BALI UPDATE #660 - 4 May 2009
Bali is Good for the Soul
View a Remarkable Slide Show of Beautiful Bali
A recent visit to Youtube.com uncovered a remarkable set of Bali images made in 2005. Images we consider just too good not to share.
For those who've been to Bali prepare to become homesick. The rest of you should stay on line and book a Bali holiday immediately after enjoying this pictorial tour of paradise.
Make sure your sound is on. While the music is not Balinese, it's great company for these pictures from an island we love.
Bali Q1 2009 Arrivals Up 4.7%
Bali Foreign Arrivals Hold On . . . Just.
March 2009 foreign tourist arrivals to Bali (161,169) increased month-on-month 4.7%, as compared to the same month in 2008. Arrivals covering the first three months of the year (Q1) totaled 465,182 - improving 3.61% over Q1 2008 (448,954).
In the midst of a very uncertain business climate internationally, that Bali has managed to record its best-ever opening quarter ever is remarkable, contradicting - at least for now - pundits prophesizing a collapse of Bali's overseas travel markets.
Bali's salvation remains it steady source of regional travelers coming from the Asia-Pacific and Asia. During Q1 2009, tourists hailing from the Asian-Pacific region increased 4.89%, while ASEAN visitors increased 19.91%. Meanwhile, reflecting the sluggish economies of Europe and the Americas, total visitors from those markets decreased 3.56% and -3.12%, respectively, during Q1 2009.
Graphics presented on balidiscovery.com show:
click images to enlarge
• With the exception of a dip in arrivals during February 2009, monthly arrivals for January and March registered strong growth over 2008. February’s lackluster performance may be traceable to the lack of any major holiday falling within that month that might have otherwise bolstered regional arrivals.
• Cumulative arrivals over the first three months of 2009 improved from Australia (+25.92%), the People's Republic of China (+39.99%), Malaysia (+19.89%), Russia (+6.33%), the Netherlands (+2.96%), and France (+19.36%). Meanwhile, market "losers" recording decreased numbers for Q1 2009 included Japan (-11.59%), Taiwan (-24%), South Korean (-8.81%), U.S.A. (-7.9%), Germany (-19.35%) and the United Kingdom (-17.83%).
Changing economic fortunes are also seeing a shift in the hierarchy of key markets to Bali.
A Changing of the Guard
At least for now, Japan remains the top market source to Bali followed by Australia in number the number two rank. If, however, Australia numbers remain buoyant and Japanese numbers continue to decrease, look for Australia to take over Japan's traditional role as Bali's top producing market ranking. Japan's toppling from the top position could happen as early as April or May, if current trends persist.
A new player in Bali's top 5 producing markets is the People's Republic of China, now ranked at the number 3 post, eyeing a chance to become number 2 as the year progresses. In the number four ranking is Malaysia. South Korea and Taiwan who have traditional been Bali's third and fourth largest source markets are now some distance back in the pack, involved in a neck-on-neck battle for fifth and sixth place.
The Peak of Bali Dining in Ubud
Chris Salan's Mozaic Restaurant Named to San Pelligrino's List of the World Best 100 Restaurants.
Owner-Chef Chris Salans of Ubud's Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique spends much of his time these days traveling abroad to accept awards, the latest additions to a growing list of international accolades for his exceptional garden restaurant in Bali's cultural and artistic heartland.
San Pellegrino's list of the 100 Best Restaurant was recently announced by William Reed Business Media in the U.K. with Mozaic the only Indonesian restaurant included, with an overall ranking at the 84th position.
Now in its eighth year, the San Pellegrino Awards is considered one of the world's most credible guide to the best places to eat on earth. Year after year, the global pool of voters expands, this year increasing by almost 20%. In compiling this year's results, a total of 4,185 votes were cast by 837 restaurant experts - all well-travelled restaurant commentators, chefs or restaurateurs.
For the purposes of compiling the list, the world is divided into 26 regions, each with its own regional chairman who presides over a panel of judges - together they form The Nespresso World's 100 Best Academy. Now representing more representative of the world restaurant industry than ever before, the U.S.A. & Canada comprise 3 regions instead of one, whilst South East Asia is split into two regions. In recognition of its mature restaurant industry, Japan is a region on its own, while China and Korean voters now sit together to form a new single region. Each panel member is allowed 5 votes, of which a maximum of three may be for restaurants within their own region. Any restaurant voted for must have been visited within the last 18 months and no-one is allowed to vote for their own restaurant.
Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique's recent awards and recognitions now include:
• Chris Salans as a Guest Master Chef for the 2008 Singapore World Gourmet Summit
• International Herald Tribune and New York Times features
• Miele Guide Top 5 restaurants in Asia
• Hospitality Asia Magazine Platinum Awards - South East Asia's Most Innovative Western Cuisine Restaurant & Indonesia Restaurant of the Year
• Recognized as the best restaurant in Indonesia and Bali by national publications, such a Indonesia Tatler, Prestige and Hello Bali.
• The first restaurant in Southeast Asia to be recognized by the prestigious Tradition et Qualité Association as a member of 'Les Grande Tables Du Monde').
Reservations are strongly recommended. Call Bali Discovery Tours at ++62-(0)361-286283 or email us at email@example.com for booking assistance.
Indonesia Mobilizes to Combat H1N1 Flu Virus
Bali Uses Skills Learnt During SARS Crisis to Confront New Threat of Viral Pandemic.
As confirmed cases of H1N1 pass the 900 mark recorded in some 11 countries worldwide, cases of the disease feared by the World Health Organization (HMO) to become a worldwide pandemic remain confined largely to the western hemisphere, with a case of the disease now also identified in Hong Kong.
No cases or suspected cases of the H1N1 virus have been reported in Indonesia or Bali.
Also known as the "swine flu" due to it's genetic link to a viral infection found among some pig populations, and despite the banning of pork imports, the public is not at danger of contracting H1N1 through the consumption of pork products.
Using practical experience and infrastructures developed during the SARS scare, the Bali provincial government has wasted no time in putting into place a number of measures to prevent and control any possible local contagion of the disease.
Among the measures now in effect:
• Thermal scanners are now in operation at Bali's International Airport identifying passengers with higher than normal body temperatures.
• Medical teams are on duty at the airport to asses anyone suffering from flu–like symptoms.
• Special isolation wards set up to handle the SARS patients are on standby, ready to receive H1N1 patients.
• Governor Pastika has established a joint team comprised of health officials, animal husbandry agencies, transportation providers and other bodies who are charged with continual assessment of any developing threat to public health.
• As an added precaution, health officials are visiting swine production facilities and introducing disinfection procedures.
• Quarantine measures have been intensified at Bali's ports and airport.
• The government has temporarily suspended the importation of pork products.
• Supplies of anti-viral drugs are being identified for possible use if an outbreak should occur in Indonesia.
• Indonesia has issued a travel warning against unnecessary travel to Mexico.
The national government, meanwhile, has earmarked Rp. 40 billion (US$3.63 million) in emergency funds to be used in combating the H1N1 virus.
Bali Airport Renovation Rejected by Governor
Governor Demands More Public Space, Less Commercialization and a More Balinese Style to Planned Major Revamp of Bali Airport.
Kompas.com reports that Bali's governor, Made Mangku Pastika, has rejected renovation plans advanced by Bali's airport managers, calling instead for a more Balinese design concept with greater emphasis on public as opposed to commercial spaces.
With renovations scheduled to commence before the end of 2009, I.B. Parsa, a spokesperson for the Bali government, said the provincial government and the governor's office would not give its supporting recommendation if the proposed renovations are only used to expand commercial space. "It would be better if Angkasa Pura (the airport managers) repaired the messy public areas at the airport," said Parsa.
Bali's international airport is being designed to handle 11 million domestic and international passengers, an increase from its current estimated carrying capacity of 9 million. Parsa pointed to poor security at the airport, sluggish visa and immigration handling and passenger boarding problems while asking why the airport authority seemed more intent on creating a commercial mall than on improving overall systems and airport infrastructure.
In response, the General Manager of PT Angkasa Pura I at Bali's airport, Heru Legowo, confirmed the governor's objections, asking for several months to present a new set of renovation blueprints. At the same time, he said it would not be possible to meet the government's demand for more Balinese-styled architecture at the airport, promising only to endeavor to create a Balinese atmosphere to welcome arriving passengers.
Bali's airport occupies a tract of land measuring around 300 hectares. Of that area, 73,776 square meters is utilized for the passenger terminal and 1,200 square meters for parking lots.
Indonesia Pilots Threatening Strike Action
Unhappy with Criminal Conviction of a Garuda Pilot, Indonesian Aviators May Ground National Air Fleet if Strike Threat Materializes.
Both Tempo Interactive and Jakarta Globe have carried reports suggesting that Indonesia's commercial pilots federation is considering strike action in retaliation for the recent criminal conviction and two-year sentence handed down to a Garuda pilot in connection with a fatal crash of a Garuda aircrafts in March 2007. [See: Landing in Jail]
Indonesian pilots, speaking through their association, are threatening to stop flying unless the appeal courts reject the conviction of the man at the wheel of the ill-fated Garuda flight, Captain Marwoto, and instead apply the "law on Air Travel." The Pilot's Federation Chairman, Monotar Napitupulu, complains that the recent court case criminalizes the pilot profession and has made Indonesian airspace an unattractive work environment for aviators.
Pilots maintain that the police should not be involved in investigating aviation accidents and that safety equipment, such as flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders should not be introduced as evidence in criminal proceedings.
Meanwhile, transportation officials have warned the pilots about initiating any industrial strike action, warning such a move could tarnish the image of Indonesia's aviation industry.
260 Bali Rivers are Dry
Degradation of Bali's Forest and Jungle Cover Seen as Main Culprit in Diminishing Lakes and Streams.
BeritaBali.com quotes Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika as warning that 260 rivers, or 65% of the 400 streams and rivers found on the island, dry up completely during the annual dry season. And, of the 140 rivers that currently maintain year-round water flows, many are under threat of also drying up as the result of destruction of Bali's forest cover.
The Governor warns: "Jungle regions are being cut down and water areas are being sucked dry. This condition is only going to become increasingly worse if there is no effort at conservation."
Not only are Bali's rivers beginning to run dry, four lakes in Bali have receded an average of 3 meters. Moreover, the surface of lake Batur has been reduced 7 meters.
Governor Pastika sees Bali's water crisis as tied to the island's diminishing forest resources. Bali has only a 22% jungle cover remaining, while experts say the ideal cover would be 30%.
57 Bali Hotels Gain Security Certification
Nikko Bali Resort Win Highest Safety and Security Ranking.
Following security reviews conducted by the Bali Police, 57 hotels have been awarded security certification. The four and five-star hotels were granted gold and silver status, depending on their ability to meet stated security measures.
Speaking at the award ceremony, the Deputy Chief of Police in Bali, Brigadier Ketut Adria, confirmed that the majority of four and give star hotels on the island maintain high standards of security preparedness.
During the certification process 53 hotels were granted the highest or "gold" designation with the remaining four winning "silver" accreditation. An additional 205 star-rated hotels are icurrently undergoing reviews and will receive the appropriate security designation before the end of 2009. Hotels in Bali undergo a re-evaluation of their security practices once every two years.
The highest ranked hotel with a score of 99.26 out of 100 was received by the Nikko Bali Resort, followed by the Nusa Dua Beach (98.3) and the Inna Grand Bali Beach (98.3).
Drug Bust Nets 2 Swedish Men at Kuta Hotel.
Small Stash of Cannabis Could Earn 10 Years of Jail Time for Two Swedish Travelers.
Two Swedish tourists, Kjell Avald Holst (25) and Karl John Bronell (26), have had an abrupt change of accommodation during their Bali holiday following their arrest by Bali police at a popular Kuta hotel and their removal to holding cells at police headquarters.
According to a Bali police spokesman, the two were arrested at 11:20 p.m. on Friday night, May 1, 2009, following reports of strange aromas emanating from one of the hotel's guest rooms.
After searching the room, police confiscated 5.5 grams of marijuana hidden in a laptop computer bag with the tourist admitting they had just personally consumed part of the drugs, purchased earlier in Lombok.
The men told officials they had bought 20 marijuana cigarettes for Rp. 400,000 (US$36) on Gili island, near Lombok from a tour guide.
The two men, now facing prosecution under Indonesia's tough anti-narcotics regulations, could each pay fines of Rp. 500 million (US$45,500) and 10 years imprisonment.
Ayana Resort Takes the Cake
Bali Pastry Chefs Earn Right to Represent Indonesia at International Pastry Competition in Singapore in 2010.
Ayana Resort and Spa Bali won top honors at a prestigious national pastry competition, winning the Gold Medal in all four categories and qualifying for the next Asian Pastry Cup championship in Singapore next year.
Pastry Chef Made Sutisna joined forces with St Regis Bali Resort's pastry sous chef Wayan Laspina in preparing a delectable array of desserts at the Asian Pastry Cup National Selection Competition held in Jakarta, April 15-18, 2009. A dessert prepared especially for the contest, Valrhona Equatorial Chocolate and Ginger-Blood Orange Mousse Cake with Peanut Croquant was determined by the panel of judges as the winner in ”The Best Chocolate Cake” category.
Chef Made's team earned the right to represent Bali after being selected by the Bali Culinary Professionals Association in local competition. Bali's pastry chef also won Gold Medals for ”The Best Sugar Pastry Show Piece, The Best Chocolate Pastry Show Piece" and "”Best Overall Score."
Following their win in Jakarta, the Bali team will now represent Indonesia at the Asian Pastry Cup in Singapore in April 2010, where pastry chefs from all over Asia will vie for the regional title and the chance to progress to the World Pastry Cup in Lyon, France. The Singapore event will be the second time Chef Made has represented his country at this event, having won Gold at the 2007 Asian Pastry Cup National Selections.
Ayana's new General Manager Charles de Foucault applauded Chef Made’s achievement, saying: "This is truly a fantastic achievement for Chef Made, whose desserts and sweet treats grace the tables of our guests every day. We look forward to supporting him – and doing some taste-testing ourselves along the way – as he works towards the regional and world championships!"
The Asian Pastry Cup National Selection was held as part of the 7th Indonesian Salon Culinaire 2009 in conjunction with the 10th International Food and Hotel Exhibition 2009, at the Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran.
Two Months to go Until MRA Bali International Triathlon
Celebrity, International and Indonesian Athletes Headed for Jimbaran Bay for 3rd MRA Bali International Triathlon on June 28, 2009.
There's less than two months to go until the 3rd MRA Bali International Triathlon at Jimbaran Bay on Sunday, June 28, 2009.
Registrations remain on target for both Indonesian and international athletes signing up to participate in an event named the "best triathlon destination" by Competitor Magazine.
On race day, individual participants and corporate relay teams of three will set off on an 1.5 km swim in Jimbaran Bay, followed by a 40 km bike race down Bali's Ungasan peninsula and Nusa Dua, and finishing witha 10 km running foot race through the village of Jimbaran.
This year's course will widen its footprint on Jimbaran Beach with the swim starting in front of the fabled Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay and swimmers coming ashore at the adjacent Intercontinental Resort Bali where they will transition to bikes for the next segment of the race. In order to handle the growing number of participants coming each year to the Bali event.
Intercontinental Bali Resort has joined as a major hotel sponsor of the triathlon.
As in year's past, the Coconut Grove in front of the Four Season's will serve as race central with refreshments, live musical entertainment and a lively bazaar on offer throughout the morning to keep spectators occupied while waiting for the racers to sprint across the beach side finish line.
Sign Up Now and Start Training
Race participants will receive high quality race t-shirts, competitor swim caps, a pre-race high-carbohydrate dinner at the Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay, invitations to a post race lunch and party, discounted tours and watersports activities during their stay in Bali, and special rates at Bali hotels. Prizes from Bali hotels and other businesses will be presented with a custom-made trophy for each age and gender category donated by Jenggala Ceramics.
Those not prepared to join the triathlon can sign up for a 5 km fun run held simultaneously with the main event.
For complete competitor information and on-line sign up, visit [MRA Bali International Triathlon Website]
[Triathlon Accommodation Offers.]
BIMC Hospital will be on hand, providing a field hospital and ambulance support, on race day, while Jari Menari Massage will be soothing racers with free massages.
Star Athletes to Return
The 2008 overall winner, Australian pro Luke McKenzie, and athlete partrner, Amanda Balding, will return to Bali to join this year's race. Organizers also expect the 2008 women's champion, Rachael Gaudry, to return, as well.
Indonesia's MRA Group is the main sponsors of the MRA Bali International Triathlon.
The MRA (Mugi Rekso Abadi Group) is comprised of more than 34 companies working in a number of fields:
• Cosmopolitan Magazine • Spice Magazine • Cosmo Girl Magazine • Harpers Bazaar • Good Housekeeping • Auto Car • Trax • Bali & Beyond Magazine • FHM • IP Entertainment (Impresarios and Artist Agents) • Men's Fitness Magazine
• Hard Rock FM • Trax FM Radio • Cosmopolitan FM Radio • I-Radio FM • Media Network Indonesia
Retail & LifestyleM
• Bulgari Jewelry • Bang and Olufsen • Vision Home Entertainment
Food & Beverage Division
• Hard Rock Café • Haagen Dazs Ice Cream
• Ferrari Maserati • Harley Davidson
Hotel & Property Division
• Bulgari Hotels & Resorts (Indonesia)
Other major sponsors include: • Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay • Intercontinental Resort Bali • BIMC Hospital • Jari Menari Massage
Lombok's Barujari Volcano Awakens
Officials Close Rinjani Volcano to Trekkers While Keeping a Close Eye on Developing Seismic Situation on Nearby Barujari.
Barujari volcano (2,376 meters) located next to Lombok's famous Rinjani volcano (3,726) suddenly sprung to life on Monday, April 27, 2009. Since then, it has continued to rumble, escalating on Saturday, May 2, 2009, with a series of large explosions within 15 minutes.
The Head of the Mining and Energy Service for Nusa Tenggara Barat, Heryadi Rachmat, confirmed that Saturday's eruption took place at 3:50 p.m. local time, with a second and third explosion coming at intervals of five minutes.
Observers at the scene report that a small crater has emerged on the eastern face of the mountain.
In connection with the eruption, volcanic ash clouds have been measured to an altitude of 8,000 meters causing local aircraft to steer well clear of the mountain. A thin layer of volcanic ash blanketed Senaru village in the regency of North Lombok, located on the foothills of the volcano.
Rachmat, accompanied by government geologists and volcanologists, confirmed to the press that seismographic equipment has now being moved in closer proximity to the volcano in order to better monitor future developments.
Experts report that the current state of the volcano poses no imminent threat to local populations. Barujari volcano when it last erupted in 2004 spewed lava and volcanic dust, but did not cause injury or loss of life.
The second tallest volcano in Indonesia, local authorities have temporarily closed Rinjani mountain to trekkers.