Monday, March 14, 2011

BALI – Latest Updates

Om Swastiastu ...
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Just hours before the devastating earthquake that hit northern Japan on Friday, March 11th, Bali also experienced a 6.2 quake off its northeast coast. Bali fortunately escaped any damage, injuries or death. As we watch the losses and tragedy unfold on our TVs in far away Japan, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of that country.

Bali news this week: Kuta Beach has reopened to swimmers after its temporary closure due to a massive plankton die-off. And, the rabies toll continues to climb.

The zoning war continues. A meeting convened last week to find common ground between those who want the 2009 zoning law honored and those who want absolute freedom for regions to decide zoning issues degenerated into angry threats and epithets. Meanwhile, a new beachside development at Nusa Dua may become a litmus test for the governor's resolve in implementing the 2009 zoning law.

In development news: Governor Pastika wants more careful selection of future investors. An urgent call has been issued to establish lower, preferential tax rates on productive farming land. Bali authorities promise to move against vehicles that are registered outside of the province but staying on the island for more than three months.

This week's installment of "Bali by the Numbers" shows arrival details for January. The island continues to break records month after month, while Japanese arrivals slipped into 3rd place after Australia and the PRC.

In hotel news: Ubud Hanging Garden had a closure notice posted on its front door by Gianyar officials last week – find out why in this week's Update. The Melia Bali Resort has earned prestigious EarthCheck certification – only the fifth hotel in the world to do so. Bali starred hotels are reminded that the law now requires requalification of their star ranking once every three years. And a leading Bali hotel is sending "food aid" to Germany - details in this week's update.

On the cultural beat: Sacred Mt. Agung is closed to climbers until April 4th in deference to important religious ceremonies being held at Pura Besakih. Meanwhile, the Bali Guide Association reminds drivers that they should avoid giving cultural and historical information to their passengers and not accompany them on tours of local attractions.

Garuda Indonesia has announced that all their flights to Japan continue to operate without interruption.

We also havr pictorial coverage of an Indonesian TV show filmed on the Bali Hai Cruises.

Fashion and style doyenne Donna Karan proclaims Bali is her favorite place to visit and that the Como Shambhala Estate in Ubud is without rival when staying on the island.

Mark your calendars:
• "Head in the Clouds" – a sculpture exhibition at the Ganesha Gallery April 7 – May 2, 2011.
• The World Culture Forum June 11-16, 2011 in Sanur with President Yudhoyono opening that event.
• The World Mask Festival will bring more than 300 mask aficionados to north Bali November 23-26, 2011.

I'm speaking this Wednesday at the Lovina Rotary Club luncheon in north Bali at 12:00 pm, sharing thoughts on trends in Bali tourism. Guests are welcome. Hope to see you there!

Om Çanti Çanti Çanti Om ...
J.M. Daniels - Bali Update
Bali Discovery Tours

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