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Bali airport to get US$111.6m upgrade
January 7th, 2009

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said Bali´s Ngurah Rai international airport will be expanded under a project to be started in April 2009.

“The expansion project will have to be started not later than April 2009 and the next three months should be used to prepare the tender. The project should be completed within two years´ time,” Kalla said after a meeting to discuss preparation for the project here Saturday.

The meeting which took place at Ngurah Rai airport was attended by Transportation Minister Jusman Syafil Djamal, Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik, Bali Governor I Made Pangku Pastika and some local officials.

“The budget provided for the construction of international terminal may reach Rp1.2 trillion  (US$111.6 million). If tendered, the bidding price may decline,” Kalla said.

Asked about the financier of this project, the vice president said airport management company PT. Angkasa Pura and Bank Mandiri were ready to finance the tender.

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Garuda to operate 18 new routes
January 7th, 2009

JAKARTA – Continuing with business development measures, Garuda Indonesia will, this year, operate at least 18 new routes in both the domestic and regional sectors, while the arrival of 14 new B 737 NGs starting in mid-2009 will help to realise the airline’s network expansion plans. 

The proposed routes are Jakarta to Tanjungkarang (Lampung), Malang (East 

Java), Jambi, Manado and Pangkal Pinang; Jakarta to Kendari (Southeast 

Sulawesi), Gorontalo, Sorong (Papua), Ambon and Palu (Central Sulawesi) all

via Makassar; Jakarta-Balikpapan-Tarakan; Denpasar to Lombok (West Nusa Tenggara), Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara), Adelaide (Australia), Hong Kong and Surabaya; Jakrata-Shanghai-Denpasar-Jakarta; and Yogyakarta-Singapore.

While some of the routes are new services, others are old routes that will be re-opened in stages, beginning January 16.

Garuda’s Yogyakarta-Singapore route began services on December 16 last year, flying three times a week.

Garuda president and CEO, Emirsyah Satar, said that by 2013, the airline’s aircraft fleet would be expected to grow threefold with a total of 128 aircraft. New fleet additions comprising 50 B 737NGs and 10 B 777-300Ers arriving this year as well as ongoing aircraft revitalisation measures will gradually replace old aircraft.

Summary: Continuing with business development measures, Garuda Indonesia will, this year, operate at least 18 new routes in both the domestic and regional sectors,

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Australian tourists defy security warnings and head to Bali in record numbers
December 24th, 2008
  • Aussies off to Bali in record numbers
  • Ignoring security warnings, terror threats
  • Garuda, Jetstar close to capacity

AUSTRALIAN tourists are returning to Bali in greater numbers than ever, defying government security warnings, terrorism threats, booze shortages and even a rabies outbreak to enjoy a cheap tropical Christmas holiday.

Garuda and Jetstar are running close to capacity to the Indonesian island, despite a downturn in arrivals last month linked to security concerns around the executions of the Bali bombers, The Australian reports.

“Advance bookings did drop off but there has been a lot of last-minute bookings for next week,” Jetstar spokeswoman Simone Pregellio said.

“And our premium flights, like the Saturday Melbourne to Bali route, are chockers.”

Garuda’s Jane Milojevic concurred, saying that although a lot of schoolies trips appeared to have been deferred because of the executions, “we’re confident that Bali will come out of it reasonably well, as people make their holiday plans and they start to reconsider going there”.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show Bali remains the third-most popular foreign holiday destination, behind Thailand and New Zealand.

Indonesian records put Australian arrivals in Bali to the end of September this year at about 230,000, with officials hoping this figure will swell to 350,000 next year.

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Bali to plant one million trees in 2009
December 3rd, 2008

Bali will spend nearly Rp 400 million (US$3,200) to plant the seeds of 1.35 million trees next year, as part of the central government’s plan to “green up” the island in anticipation of environmental disasters.

The seeds, including chestnut and mahogany, will be planted inside and outside forests all across Bali, said Dewa Dharma Putra, head of the environmental division of the province’s Regional Development Planning Agency.

“However, this is just the number of seeds we will plant, we cannot foresee how many of them will actually grow into trees,” he stressed.

Dharma Putra said areas such as southern Badung suffered from a lack of absorption areas, making them prone to floods, while other areas, such as the Seraya district in Karangasem Regency suffered from extreme drought, which might lead to fires.

He added that the areas were categorized according to the state of their degradation, from extremely critical to critical to slightly critical and so on.

“Karangasem has one of the widest critical areas, while areas in southern Badung such as Kuta, Pecatu and Nusa Dua are also categorized as critical and are among our main priorities.”

The southern Badung area is the island’s main tourism region.

The program, which is part of the Gerhan (forests and field rehabilitation movement) initiative launched by the government in 2004, actually began in Bali in 2006; it has simply been renamed the “Green Bali” program.

The aim of the program is to plant local trees and reduce deforested areas in Bali by a minimum of 9,000 hectares every year.

The latest report from the agency revealed that 20,000 hectares of land in Bali remain in critical condition, a reduction from the 55,000 hectares identified in 2004.

He further estimated that as many as 2.5 hectares of the island’s mangrove forests – also a target of the “Green Bali” program – remain in critical need.

When asked about the exact impact of the “Green Bali” movement, Dewa Dharma said several regional agencies, which include the provincial, regional and municipal forestry agencies were still working on identifying the newly improved areas.

“According to our temporary data, there has been a significant reduction in the number of critical areas, but we’re still re-capping the exact number. We are doing this along with the identification phase,” he said.

This latest data, he said, would serve as a guideline for the agency’s future “Green Bali” program, including setting benchmarks of how many of the trees should be planted each year.

Meanwhile, Putu Subagiartha, head of the Bali Regional Development Planning Agency, hoped the re-planting program could increase the island’s attractiveness to tourists.

“We have to prove that we can conserve our environment as well as develop our tourism industry at the same time,” he said.

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Bali to have e-government in two years, governor says
November 28th, 2008

Wasti Atmodjo ,  Contributor ,  Denpasar   |  Thu, 11/27/2008 11:07 AM  |  Bali

Bali administration will complete its transition into a fully wired e-government in two years, the island’s governor Made Mangku Pastika said Tuesday.

“In two years, everything should be (inter-connected) online, that’s my target,” he said during a meeting with the executives of the local chapter of Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI).

The transition to e-government, according to Pastika, was necessary to create a modern bureaucracy that was cost-efficient and able to cope with the growing needs of the public.

The modernization will be carried out gradually. In this first phase, the governor has reduced the number of staff meetings and has also instructed every division and agency to begin establishing computerized data bases.

“There is no need to conduct nonurgent meetings and searching for specific data should no longer take a long time,” he said.

Pastika expressed his concern over the large volume of paper consumed in the administration’s daily operations.

“Eventually, heaps upon heaps of decaying paper will be left abandoned somewhere,” he said.

He pointed out that producing the province’s annual budget was one activity that consumed a staggering amount of paper.

“The budget ends up being a very thick volume and every time a revision is made, a new version is printed and distributed to each and every official and legislator involved in the deliberation process. What a waste of paper,” he said.

Pastika envisions that in the near future the agencies and divisions will be interconnected through an integrated information technology infrastructure.

“We will have a paperless environment. We will be able to save a lot of money because we won’t have to buy so many office supplies,” he said.

Pastika praised the Jembrana regency administration for its ability to implement e-government.

“Its administration is fully connected, it is really good,” he said.

AJI will hold its national congress in Bali on Thursday. In conjunction with the gathering, a seminar on new media will be organized featuring speakers from Indonesia’s largest mass media.

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Nusa Penida: A sanctuary for the endangered Bali Starling
November 20th, 2008

Trisha Sertori, Contributor, UbudOn a small island off Bali’s coast, Nusa Penida, a little white bird with a vivid blue mask is successfully breeding in the wild.

Over the past six months, 45 of the 65 Bali Starlings bred and released by the Begawan Giri and Friends of the National Parks Foundations since 2006 have hatched offspring.

While not native to Nusa Penida, the Bali Starling has been released on the island in an effort to ensure its survival in the wild.

Back on Bali, where the Bali Starling is the province’s emblem, the bird has become critically endangered through poaching and loss of habitat.

Bali Starling breeder and veterinarian, Bayu Wirayudha of Friends of the National Parks Foundation, said the reason for the difference in the birds’ survival is simple; on Nusa Penida, traditional laws on the protection of birds and animals are still in place.

“But in West Bali, where the Bali Starling has been bred in captivity and released into the West Bali National Park for decades … there is not this traditional land-based law,” said Bayu.

Shifting breeding of the Bali Starling to Nusa Penida has drawn the ire of some organizations, Bayu said, however the recent bird count of 45 birds born in the wild on the island tells Bayu his experiment in creating new colonies in safe zones is working.

Creating new colonies for endangered birds is often a successful method of preventing extinction of a species. The United States Fish and Wildlife service is currently working with scientists to relocate the endangered short-tailed albatross from its volcanic Torishima Island breeding grounds in Japan to the Bonin Islands — at a cost of US$5.67 million, writes the Environment News Service website.

The 45 Bali Starlings bred and hatched on Nusa Penida have brought wild populations of the Bali Starling back from the abyss of extinction.

For almost a century, the Bali Starling has been at threat of extinction. Bird counts from 1912 show a contraction in habitat range and by 1966 the bird was declared endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). In 1978, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) placed the Bali Starling on its critical list.

The Indonesian Government and bird protection organizations around the world saw, as early as the 1980′s, that immediate action was needed to prevent the bird from being lost in the wild. Captive breeding programs were successfully established in Bali, however birds released into the wild were quickly poached and populations of the bird continued to plummet.

Unlike most starling species, the Bali Starling with its white feathers and vivid blue mask is a highly attractive bird. Its beauty spelt its downfall, with poachers collecting both wild and captive-bred released birds for sale; and at Rp 5 million to Rp 10 million per bird, poaching in Bali’s national parks was a lucrative business.

“The only reason for their extinction is illegal poaching. All starling breeds are very adaptable and can live by the sea, in mountain zones, urban regions and grasslands,” said Bayu.

“The Bali Starling is simply too beautiful and everyone wants one as a caged bird — it’s about prestige,” said Bayu of the bird that is found in greater numbers in aviaries in England or America than in the wild on its home territory.

Bayu began breeding the Bali Starling in captivity at the Bali Bird Park in 1992.

“We were the first people to officially breed the Bali Starling. The bird had been declared endangered in 1966 by IUCN and on the CITES critical list by ’78,” said Bayu, adding if populations were numbered below 20, they were classified as extinct.

There were grave fears that the Bali Starling, with constantly falling numbers, could reach a crisis point in wild breeding viability.

“Until a recent release in the West Bali National Park, there were believed to be less than 10 birds in the wild. However, in 2005, I could only count five birds and of those only one was not closed-banded.

“Closed-banded birds have all been bred in captivity. That suggests of those five birds only one had bred naturally in the wild …,” said Bayu.

He added that bird counts in the Bali Barat National Park showed populations would grow with captive bred releases, then plummet sharply, suggesting a high level of poacher activity.

“Its easy work for the poachers when there are a lot of birds; we see the population grow and then overnight it collapses. Poachers can collect a lot of birds in a couple of days and make a lot of money.”

And it is the poacher problem that has been the cause of population failures on Bali, Bayu said. Addressing that issue at the grassroots level is why Nusa Penida island was seen as a safe haven for released birds.

“We started the Nusa Penida program in April 2004. We located nine villages that still had traditional laws protecting birds, so we were not bringing in a totally new idea.

“We then met with 16 other villages to discuss bird protection person to person,” said Bayu, adding that by June 2006, all villages on Nusa Penida had written bird protection into their traditional laws.

“Each village has its own bird protection law and punishments. One village even purchased all the caged birds in their village and released them … their regulation states there is no reason to have caged birds, Bayu said.

Despite high levels of poverty on Nusa Penida, to date not one bird has been poached, says Bayu of a conservation project that depends on the support of local people for its success.

“In rural regions, people still have great respect for traditional laws. When birds are released from captive breeding we hold a ceremony in the temple and the birds are blessed. So the Bali Starling on Nusa Penida is protected by government law, local law and also by God, from the temple blessing.”

Convincing people from impoverished villages that they had a role to play in protecting wildlife called for genuine support for those villages, said Bayu. But with sponsorship from Bank Danamon, American Express, Pertamina and Karya Tangan Indah, agro farming of white teak, mahogany and sandalwood trees for farmers as well as reforestation is now underway across the island.

“Nusa Penida had positive press for their protection of the Bali Starling and that made them really proud. Before that Nusa Penida was seen as a poor and dry area.

“If the bird release is the main course in this, the side menu must somehow help locals … this is the idea behind the agro forestry and reforestation program, to improve the environment and economy,” said Bayu of the grassroots approach to conservation and wildlife protection that is benefiting all.

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TIME 2008 in Makassar successfully concluded
November 9th, 2008

MAKASSAR – The Indonesian annual travel mart, Tourism Indonesia Mart&Expo (TIME) or ‘Pasar Wisata Indonesia’ is concluded today with total attendance of 104 buyers from 21 countries. The top five buyers consisted of Malaysia, Korea, India and Indonesia, Singapore, and the Netherlands. TIME 2008 also attracted 108 sellers from 16 provinces of Indonesia, which mostly come from Jakarta, South Sulawesi, Bali, North Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, Yogyakarta and East Kalimantan, and Papua. The percentage of sellers based on industry is hotel, resort and spa (75 percent), NTO (10 percent), tour operator/travel agent (7 percent), adventure/activity holiday (3 percent), airline (1.5 percent), and others (hotel management, tourism board, tourism organization and travel portal (8.5 percent).

The above was reported during the closing press conference of TIME 2008 by the organizing committee of TIME 2008. “Despite the current global financial crisis and EU ban to Indonesian airlines, TIME 2008 has booked an estimated transaction of US$15.2 million,” said Meity Robot, chairperson of TIME 2008.

“The conduct of TIME 2008 in Makassar has proven successful as a result of good cooperation among the organizing committee and organizer of TIME 2008 together with the local committee, which comprises the provincial government of South Sulawesi, City of Makassar, and the entire tourism industry, as well as associations in South Sulawesi and Makassar,” said Meity.

“We have heard some positive comments and constructive notes have been expressed by delegates of TIME 2008 saying that Makassar has grown significantly since the last TIME 2006 and has shown tremendous progress in featuring the city as a travel and MICE destination, with its newest international airport and convention center, as well as development of new hotels and tourism attractions,” said Meity.

Buyers and international travel writers are given the opportunity to take part in the post-tour program to Toraja for 3 days and 2 nights.

The organizing committee of TIME has decided that next year’s TIME will be held in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. At press time by West Nusa Tenggara yesterday, the provincial government of West Nusa Tenggara represented by the vice chairman of DPRD West Nusa Tenggara, in association with the Lombok and Sumbawa tourism board, stated that with full support from the provincial government of West Nusa Tenggara, together with the entire tourism industry and association, they are ready to host TIME 2009 and 2010 and will assure that the venue, as well as infrastructure, will be ready in time so that TIME in Lombok will be successful.

Lombok is only a 20-minute flight from Bali. The island possesses various tourism potentials, from nature (mountain, sea, and land) to culture and arts, which could attract an international market. Presently, Lombok has 3,000 hotel rooms with international standards. With the present development of hotels in Lombok, by 2009 Lombok will have around 3,500 hotel rooms.

In terms of accessibility, Lombok is flown from Singapore by Silk Air; from Malaysia by Merpati Nusantara; from Jakarta by Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and Batavia Air; from Surabaya by Merpati Nusantara, Lion Air, Batavia Air, and Citylink; and from Bali by Merpati Nusantara, Trigana Air, and Indonesia Air Transport. Beginning December 2008, the island will have a direct flight from Perth, Australia. Moreover, Lombok is now developing its international airport.

“The shifting of TIME to Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara will be for two consecutive years – 2009 and 2010 – and is aimed at promoting Lombok and West Nusa Tenggara to the international market, as well as to foster the development of tourism facilities and improvement of infrastructure in the region so that at the end, the destination could enjoy itself as a global travel destination,” Meity Robot concluded.

Last year, TIME 2006 in Makassar was attended by 110 buyers from 21 countries and 124 sellers from 20 provinces with a recorded transaction value of USD$15 million, whereas previously TIME 2005 in Yogyakarta was attended by 84 buyers from 23 countries and 128 sellers from 20 provinces with a transaction value of USD$13 million.

TIME 2008 is supported by the ministry of culture and tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, South Sulawesi provincial government, the city of Makassar, the South Sulawesi culture and tourism office, the Makassar culture and tourism office, Garuda Indonesia as the official carrier, Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, INACA (Indonesia National Air Carriers Association), BARINDO (Board of Airline Representatives Indonesia), the embassies of Indonesia overseas, ASITA (Indonesian tour operators and travel agencies) South Sulawesi, PHRI (Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association) South Sulawesi and Makassar, the Indonesian Conference and Convention Association (INCCA), Pacto Convex as the event organizer, Indo Multi Media as the offical media partner, TTG Asia and Venue Magazine as supporting media partners, and Bulanmadu.com.

Tiara P.I. Hasibuan Project Leader Pacto Convex Ltd. Tel:                (62-21) 570 5800         Ext. 214 Fax: (62-21) 570 5798 Email: tiara_hsb@cbn.net.id Website: www.pasarwisata.com


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