Thursday, December 25, 2008

Indonesia and Bali still seeing booming tourist trade

Despite global gloom, Indonesia’s tourist arrivals are still seeing very healthy growth, particular in relation to Bali, and now the country is predicting tourist numbers will grow by 25% in 2009.

For the ten months to October end, international arrivals hit 5.1 million, lifting some 13% on top of 2007 figures, of this figure some one million travellers travelled to Indonesia with intentions to visit Bali.

Looking to 2009, Indonesia is confident that it can repeat the success of 2008 again.

The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism is predicting eight million international arrivals, or a 25% increase on this year’s figures, which is expected to sit at around 6.4 million.

Monday, December 22, 2008

There seem to be an increasing number of hot spots

Australians were advised to reconsider travel to Indonesia because of the execution of the Bali bombers on November 9, while many people were stranded in Bangkok or had to cancel planned holidays after anti-government protesters blockaded the city's airports later that month.

In Mumbai, Australians were among those killed and injured when terrorists targeted, among other sites, two luxury hotels and the main railway station.

At the time of writing, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website,, was advising against travel to eight countries, including Iraq, and suggesting Australians "reconsider" travel to a further 18, including India, Thailand and Indonesia.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tarakan island looks to Bali for its tourism development

The Bali Tourism Board (BTB) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Tarakan municipality administration to increase awareness of the island as a tourist destination, including by advertising the location in Bali's promotional forays, such as websites, road shows and in brochures.

"The potential for tourism in Tarakan may well complement Bali's tourism industry and other tourism spots in Indonesia," BTB spokesperson Sang Putu Subaya told The Jakarta Post during a visit to Tarakan.

"The more varied and numerous our offers, the more interested tourists become in visiting Indonesia," he said.

Tarakan is approximately a third the size of Singapore and is home to 180,000 year rounders.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bali tourist paradise bitten again: now it's rabies

Bali tourism websites are also posting warnings about the outbreak.

Queensland's chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young issued a warning this afternoon, informing tourists that Bali has lost its "rabies-free" status.

The island of Bali has been regarded as free of the disease though it has existed in other parts of Indonesia.

Dr Young said human rabies usually followed a bite from a rabid animal, most frequently a dog, but in some parts of the world, other animals can be a source.

"We have been advised that authorities in Bali have taken steps to control the situation including implementing a program of culling and vaccination in dogs and vaccination of people in villages affected," she said.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Catch the ‘talk story’ train to Indonesian hot spot

In fact, Bali has been a haven for movie stars and millionaires since the 1930s, when Charlie Chaplain and other illustrious travelers helped put it on the world map. It's even rumored Chaplain learned his famous duck walk in the upcountry Bali village of Ubud, watching the Barong dancers.

I've been to Bali and a few other Indonesian islands 11 times and still want to go back for more. But many other Mauians are lured by the "island of the gods," so I've asked some to share memorable experiences as well.

"I LOVE Bali," says Bobby Watanabe, the customer relations representative for Kapalua Farms and Maui Pineapple. "It's basically been like a second home to me over the years. The culture, food, people, it's all so great. The best of all has to be the people. The Agama-Hindus of Bali truly perpetuate the ideal of the aloha spirit on the complete opposite side of the world. In terms of wealth and prosperity they have nothing, yet they have the greatest attitudes one can come by. I've traveled and surfed in a lot of different places on this strange planet (Europe, South America, the U.S., Japan and other places in Asia) and there is no other place I would even consider trying to live outside of Hawaii but Bali."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bali spa industry told to be environmentally friendly

The landscape of spas on Bali seems to change almost hourly given the recent rapid establishment of new spas and hotels.

The Bali Spa and Wellness Association therefore chose the theme "Nurture, knowledge and network" for its annual seminar on Thursday, where experts discussed various issues catching the attention of the spa industry, such as how spas can become more environmentally friendly.

"Do you know where your water flows to after the spa treatment? Do you know how much money you could save only by putting a timer onto your hot stone and water heaters?" Amanda Pummer from the Green Asia Group asked.

Hesitant answers came from the mostly female group.

Thirty percent of the energy in Bali is consumed by hotels, most of which have luxurious spa areas. Independent spas have not been included in the calculations.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dafi makes waves in Bali

WALKING along the streets of Kuta in Bali, Indonesia, with Gadaffi Ismail Sabri, who’s better known as Dafi, is like walking beside a sinetron (Indonesian soap opera) star.

He attracted countless curious glances, and had to stop frequently for photo opportunities with his female fans. “I am really honoured and thrilled that people recognise me here,” he said during an Anugerah Bintang Popular trip to Bali with winners and fans recently. The trip was organised by Berita Harian and Photo Travel & Tours.

“It is amazing how one commercial made such a big difference in my career,” he said.

The soon-to-be 20-year-old has been receiving media buzz due to his collaboration with Indonesia’s pop princess Gita Gutawa in the duet Dua Menjadi Satu, the theme song for Cornetto’s regional commercial.
He has been on various magazine covers and has appeared on numerous talk shows over the past five months in Indonesia.

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