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Six months after suicide bombings, Bali still hurting

DENPASAR, Indonesia, April 16, 2006 (AFP) - A waiter at one of the seafood restaurants strung along Bali's Jimbaran Bay gestures towards the other end of the beach, a sparsely populated stretch of sand where suicide bombs were detonated more than six months ago.

Asian and German tourists keep his restaurant ticking over, he says, but tourists from Australia, who have long flocked here to enjoy Bali's famed surf and stunning scenery, are staying away.

"Why don't they come back? We are going bankrupt!" the waiter exclaims.

Six months after three suicide bombers rocked the island, tourism numbers are still in the doldrums, with everyone from taxi drivers to hoteliers complaining about the slump hitting their wallets.

The October 1 attacks by Islamic extremists on bustling eateries at Jimbaran and the main beach strip of Kuta killed 20 bystanders. The bloodshed occurred just three years after the Hindu-majority island was shaken by even more devastating blasts which left 202 people dead, mostly Western holiday-makers.

In February, tourism arrivals were at 73,430, down 26.56 percent year-on-year, official data shows, while preliminary figures for March are similarly disheartening.

"I'm worried about the numbers," says Gde Nurjaya, chief of Bali's tourism authority.

Daily arrivals for the first three months of 2005 averaged 3,900 per day amid bad publicity about Indonesia focused on the tsunami in Aceh, but this year only 2,800 per day have been trickling in, Nurjaya says.

And the number of days tourists stay has dwindled from about 10 days before the October 2002 blasts to five or six days, he adds, as the market shifts from being dominated by westerners to having a heavier Asian component.

"Some of my friends have quit driving taxis," says Ketut Prastiya, a taxi driver in Denpasar. "Not many tourists are around, so the money is not enough to support their families."

Some have gone home to their villages, others have found other work.

On a good day, Prastiya makes up to 40,000 rupiah (just under four dollars) in profit, less than half of what he pulled in before the latest attacks. But on a bad day, he ends up owing the taxi company a portion of the 150,000 rupiah he pays to hire his car. He owes about one million rupiah.

Irwan Hidayat, the owner of a spa in Denpasar popular with tourists, says business is down by half compared to the same time a year ago.

"I have to change shifts, rearrange the schedule in order not to fire any of my staff," he says.

Even in the most popular tourist spots, such as beachside Kuta and Nusa Dua and the cultural town of Ubud, hotel occupancy hovers at around 30 percent, with the lucky hotels hitting 40 percent, hoteliers estimate.

Normally, rates would be up to 70 percent booked, they say.

"The level of occupancy is so low. It is so scary," says Ratna Radja Ully, secretary of the Bali branch of the Pacific Asia Travel Association. "I don't know why it is still difficult to get people to come to Bali."

Panicked hotels are offering sizeable discounts in a bid to lure the hordes.

"We got a 50 percent discount for a three-day meeting," says a pleased Herry Pramono, whose Jakarta-based office with a staff of more than 30 has just arranged a package at a four-star hotel in Kuta.

Kuta, the site of the first bombing, is particularly losing out to other areas as tourists seek out quieter alternatives -- perceived as less obvious targets -- such as Seminyak, where some hotels are filling half their rooms.

Happy Subiyanto, public relations manager of the Sofitel at Seminyak, says they are one of the few not offering discounts.

The slump "will kill others (but) we have the advantage of location," she says.

Some hoteliers say the government should be promoting Bali more aggressively.

"Let's talk about promoting the island as if Bali is a new destination and we have to introduce it widely and persistently," says Ayu Martiasih, from Maya Resort in Ubud.

Bali is lagging behind other nearby destinations such as Thailand and Malaysia, which are heavily pushing themselves, she complains.

"We have their promotions on our local television. Do we have ours on their televisions?" he asks.

Nurjaya from the tourism authority says officials have been doing promotional work, including a two-week trip taking in Berlin's major International Tourism Fair as well as stops in Perth and Guangzhou.

Indonesia has released 37 billion rupiah (about four million dollars) in aid to help Bali revive tourism, with a total of 67 billion rupiah earmarked by Jakarta to help shore up the industry.

English tourist Neil Anderson, on his first-ever visit to Bali, says he is enjoying the quiet streets and beaches.

"But I feel sorry for Balinese people -- it's bad for their business," he says.
 

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^^ That's Weird I was in Bali last week...

when I was in Changi Airport,Singapore going to Bali, I saw a lot of foreigner in the Gate departuring to bali more than any other Gates. They also Brought their Children that's still Kids,Infants and babies to Bali (a lot of People). The Plane was full of Foreigners and I didn't see any empty spaces.Hard Rock Hotel was almost Full Vacancy (the told us to check out early due to the Room Demand). in Bali there's still a lot of foreigners (as much as Singapore) I guess Bali was really crowded before

*sigh*

there's no such thing as " a Safe Place" in this World.

Let me ask this:
"would you still go to London after the London Bombings?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The key difference between London and Bali is the British are well-trained to handle terrorist attacks after the IRA experience. Indonesia's infrastructure is far poorer and the political climate is less stable. Imagine getting injured in a bomb attack in Bali. I'd feel much more assured getting treatment in London.
 

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Well, after the first Bali bombings, tourism halted but then slowly picked up again. After the second bombings, I guess alot of Australian tourists no longer viewed it as a safe place to visit. Personally, I think Australian tourists should not just see Bali, but they should see the rest of Indonesia! Indonesia's got much more beautiful locations in my opinion. I think Bali is abit overrated (but still beautiful nonetheless), but then again, I've never actually been there. Though it wouldn't be the first place in Indonesia I'd choose to go to.
 

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I have been to Bali in January and the Island was empty. And I was realy pissed of by the agressive begging. Never again!
 

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It'll probably take at least another year for Bali to get back on its feet - provided there are no terrorist attacks in between, that is. Let's just hope for the best for the Balinese.
 

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Valeroso said:
Well, after the first Bali bombings, tourism halted but then slowly picked up again. After the second bombings, I guess alot of Australian tourists no longer viewed it as a safe place to visit. Personally, I think Australian tourists should not just see Bali, but they should see the rest of Indonesia! Indonesia's got much more beautiful locations in my opinion. I think Bali is abit overrated (but still beautiful nonetheless), but then again, I've never actually been there. Though it wouldn't be the first place in Indonesia I'd choose to go to.

that's a good Idea :)
Indonesia is the Largest Archipelago. there are 17.000+ Islands as other Alternatives :colgate:

there's still Bintan, Lombok, Komodo, Giri Trawangan and 17.000+ more ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Indonesian tourism arrivals down in March

JAKARTA, May 2, 2006 (AFP) - Tourism arrivals in Indonesia fell 9.73 percent to 312,300 in March compared to a year ago, data from the Central Bureau of Statistics showed Tuesday.

The fall comes as the resort island of Bali -- the archipelago nation's top tourism drawcard -- is struggling to attract tourists back after a triple suicide bombing there by Islamic extremists last October killed 20 bystanders.

The March figure was however up 18.18 percent from February.

For Bali, visitors were down 26.77 percent year-on-year but up 14.91 percent from February's 77,400.

The March outcome brought the number of tourist arrivals in Indonesia in the first three months of 2006 to 871,800, down 13.13 percent compared to the same period last year.

The October 2005 bombings hit as tourism, the main engine of Bali's economy, had come back to life after nightclub blasts in 2002 that killed 202 people, mostly western holidaymakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
FEATURE - Bali, overwhelmed by outsiders, gets a culture shock

DENPASAR, Indonesia, Dec 12 (Reuters) - With its manicured rice terraces, Hindu temples, and processions of women bearing Carmen Miranda-like mounds of fruit on their heads, Bali has successfully sold itself as a tropical paradise.

But the island resort, which attracts supermodels and rock stars as well as thousands of less famous economic migrants in search of a better life, may become a victim of its own success.

Mosques, shopping malls, and luxury villas have mushroomed on this largely Hindu island set in the predominantly Muslim Indonesian archipelago.

If a bid to lift height restrictions on buildings goes ahead, the skyline could be set for a more controversial addition: high-rises, seen as the most effective way to deal with a growing population and rapidly shrinking supply of land.

"The religious people don't want this, they will have a problem with the temples and the way of life," said Putu Suasta, an environmentalist, explaining that the mostly Hindu Balinese believe that other buildings should not tower above temples.

"I don't think they will allow it."

Bali is being transformed by non-Balinese who some critics say are gobbling up its precious rice fields for property development, competing head-on with the Balinese for jobs, and bringing alien cultures to the island.

"I want to keep my culture," said Luh Ketut Suryani, a psychiatrist who is lobbying to preserve and popularise Balinese ways, including language and customs, and to make it harder for other Indonesians to settle on the island.

"If you want to build a big mosque and church, build it in another place. If you don't agree, don't come to Bali. All Indonesians are equal but now we (Balinese) feel we are a minority."

BALINESE VERSUS OUTSIDERS

The proportion of Hindus in Bali fell to 87 percent in 2000, from 93 percent in 1995, Suryani said, as Indonesians from densely populated and mainly Muslim Java flocked to Bali in search of work following the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

In Bali's capital Denpasar, the proportion of Hindus may be closer to 60 percent and in certain districts it is only one in six, she said. The issue of Balinese versus outsiders is likely to be a hot topic in next year's election for governor.

"Balinese only have one or two kids because family planning here is very strong" due to pressures from the local banjar, or neighbourhood associations, she said. "But imagine, if Balinese have only one or two kids but people from outside have four, five or six, in a few years the composition will change."

Besieged by outsiders, some Balinese are becoming more aware of the need to preserve their identity.

Instead of using Indonesia's unifying language bahasa Indonesia, which is similar to Malay, some Balinese want the Balinese language, steeped in Sanskrit and Javanese with a feudal emphasis on the caste of the person being addressed, to be used more widely.

BACKPACKER TRAIL

Once famous for its warring princes and slave-trading, Bali's potential as a tropical tourist destination was exploited by the Dutch colonial rulers and, post-independence, by the Indonesian government.

It became part of the hippie and backpacker trail, and attracted more tourists than any other part of Indonesia.

When Islamic militants blew up two bars in Kuta, a popular tourist strip, in 2002 killing more than 200 people, it dealt a severe blow to Bali's tourist industry and put Bali's open welcome and tolerance to the test.

"After the bombs, Balinese became aware that it's very dangerous to receive people from outside and we don't know who they are," said Suryani.

But even before 2002, some Balinese had mixed feelings about tourism and development. Some complain that developers destroy local shrines or do not treat temples with sufficient respect.

The big, foreign-owned hotels and restaurants often prefer to hire other Indonesians because Balinese, who are bound by their community ties, are obliged to attend important ceremonies and events in their villages and so have to take more time off work.

And some of those who sold their land feel they were forced to give it up, or cheated of a good price.

Without their land, many have given up their farming existence and have become dependent on tourism which sometimes turn locals and their unique culture into curios.

"To compete in the tourism business is about selling themselves, their image, their creativity, they have to sell themselves as tourist objects," said Ida Ayu Agung Mas.

As a senator, she frequently hears complaints from Balinese about the consequences of development, ranging from pollution and higher living costs to a shortage of natural building materials as more people move to the island.

"Everyone is using the image of Bali, but they must pay back to the community. The Europeans, Chinese, Javanese, they don't give back," she said. (Editing by Megan Goldin)
 

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^^ I'm a half-Balinese, and basically I don't think that Balinese likes conflict. Evethough I was born and grown in Java most of my life, I am still Balinese. For the news, I won't deny if some Balinese might have opinion like that, but did the press also wrote or interviewed what other Balinese think about it? I think it might be not wise if you see things only on one side, we have to consider a matter from many sides.

Why don't come to Bali to see it yourself? :) Peace
 

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Foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia jump in 2007: official data

JAKARTA, Jan 2, 2008 (AFP) - The number of tourists visiting Indonesia jumped 14 percent in the first 11 months of 2007 compared to the same period a year ago, Central Bureau of Statistics data showed Wednesday.

The 4.11 million arrivals were boosted by a resurgence of tourism on the resort island of Bali, which saw a 32.3 percent increase to 1.59 million visitors in the January to November period.

Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport recorded the second highest number of tourists at 1.05 million arrivals, little changed from 1.04 million in the same period in 2006.

In November alone, tourist arrivals through 15 entry points nationwide reached 398,983, up from 351,351 in October.

Data from the Tourism Ministry showed the 4.87 million foreign tourists that visited Indonesia in 2006 spent a total of 4.45 billion US dollars.

Negative overseas perceptions have hobbled Indonesia's tourism sector in recent years, with arrivals in key drawcard Bali bottoming out in the wake of deadly terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005.

A government campaign to boost arrivals in 2008 turned to embarrassment last month after it was revealed the English-language slogan -- painted on aircraft of flag-carrier Garuda -- contained a grammatical mistake.

The slogan, which originally read "Celebrating 100 years of nation's awakening" has since been changed to "Celebrating 100 years of national awakening".
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Indonesian MPs give bikinis the all clear
17 October 2008
Agence France Presse

After months of in-depth consultations Indonesian lawmakers have decided that bikinis are acceptable attire for beaches in the mainly Muslim country, an MP said Friday.

The move will bring a sigh of relief from Indonesia's lucrative tourism industry, which has expressed concern over a new anti-pornography bill being pushed by conservative Muslim parties.

"Tourists will be able to wear bikinis in special tourist areas, such as in Bali, so Indonesia's tourism industry won't be hurt by this legislation," Democrat Party lawmaker Husein Abdul Azis told AFP.

"We are listening to the protests of stakeholders and people at large," he added, referring to fears the tourism industry would suffer if bikinis were criminalised.

Indonesia has declared 2008 "Visit Indonesia Year" and hopes to attract seven million visitors, earning 6.7 billion dollars in foreign exchange revenues.

However, tourist arrival figures indicate the target is unlikely to be reached.

Politicians, artists, rights activists and tourism entrepreneurs on the mainly Hindu island of Bali, Indonesia's premier tourist destination, have vowed to launch a campaign of non-compliance if the pornography bill is passed.

But Azis, a member of the committee drafting the bill, said dramatic changes had been made to earlier versions in a bid to iron out problems.

Lawmakers said the bill could be passed by the end of the month.
 

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It's True BALI IS A PARADISE!!!!!:D
 
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