Bali Today

Om Swastiastu …

I’m traveling to Singapore later today to speak at a conference organized by the Ministry of Tourism at the Bugis Village Hotel on February 16th. If you’re a reader in Singapore – particularly if I can provide information on travel to Bali – I’d love to hear from you!

Leading the news this week: An earthquake on Friday in West Sumba was felt in both Bali and Lombok. A South African tourist has died in a motorcycle accident in North Kuta. A Chinese tourist has drowned at Nusa Lembongan. The body of a dead infant has been found on Kuta Beach. And, a Swedish woman claims she was raped by a motorcycle jockey in the Seminyak area.

The trial of Bali-born former Minister Jero Wacik has ended in a guilty verdict and a very light sentence. Prosecutors say they will appeal and seek a stiffer punishment.

Aviation News: Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air are reported to have been in a “near miss” flight situation over West Bali last week. The government has mandated a 5% reduction in the top economy fare that can be charged by Indonesian domestic air carriers. In response, INACA issues a statement disagreeing with the move to reduce the ceiling price on air tickets. Last week, a Lion Air Boeing 747 was forced to “return to base” in Bali after being refused overflight rights in Hong Kong. Garuda reveals plans to increase revenues by 10% in 2016 and secure a 50% market share of all domestic air travel. And, Bali’s deputy governor announces a traffic underpass will be built at the entrance to the Island’s airport.

We have two articles on investing in Bali. Bali has had a record year for foreign and domestic investment in 2015. Last week, investment rules were redrafted allowing more and greater involvement by foreign investors in the Indonesian economy.

The Bali Consumer Protection Agency criticizes PT Telkom for poor infrastructure and abysmal customer service.

Efforts to remove illegal cigarette advertising from main roads in Bali run into opposition and trickery from well-connected tobacco companies.

Blaming high taxes and exchange rates, Harley Davidson closes all its Indonesian dealerships.

Read about a special birthday party for a girl from the jungles of Sumatra held on Valentines Day at the Bali Safari and Marine Park

Bali Mice Guide

Om Swastiastu …

If you’re involved in planning corporate and meeting travel and will be in Jakarta this Thursday, consider dropping us an email to join the Launch Party for the 8th edition of the Bali MICE Guide.

In a world besieged by terror threats, Bali is maintaining a high state of security. We have coverage of the high-profile police presence in leading tourist areas of the Island; complaints that foreign visitors are not getting properly scrutinized at the Gilimanuk Port when entering Bali; and assurances from the Provincial Chief of Tourism that Bali remains a safe tourist destination.

Other leading news this week: North Bali police continue to investigate a written bomb threat delivered to a government office in Buleleng. A Bali police officer may have done irretrievable damage to his law enforcement career by joking about a bomb while waiting for a flight in Makassar. The disgraced former head of the Kuta Police precinct, removed from his post for involvement in extorting money from a group of Australian tourists, has received a one-year demotion. Tourists complain that visitors to the Sekumpul Waterfall in North Bali are subjected to repeated illegal fees demanded by local villagers.

On Saturday, a bridge on the road between Denpasar and Gilimanuk collapsed and is now causing significant traffic disruptions up and down the entire west coast of Bali.

Last week, Bali performed its first successful kidney transplant, signifying another important step in ongoing efforts to bring world-class medical care to the people of Bali.

Responding to the fast-growing travel market from India, Garuda Indonesia has declared its intent to commence flying between Mumbai and Denpasar in 2016.

The Department of Transportation, responding to protests from local taxi drivers, has banned UBER from operating in Bali with immediate effect.

Statistically speaking: The Tanah Lot Complex welcomed 3.17 million visitors in 2016. Meanwhile, Bali tentatively sets a target of 12 million foreign and domestic tourist visitors for 2016.

In the ongoing trial of the Bali-born former Minister of Tourism, Jero Wacik, prosecutors have demanded 9 years in prison and damages amounting to Rp. 18.97 billion payable to the State.

Mount Barujari Volcano in Lombok has been declared “back to normal.” Meanwhile, the lake surrounding the Mount Batur volcano in Bali is declared to be under severe environmental threat.

In other news: Bali’s Governor calls for a shift away from mass tourism to quality tourism. The Bali Agung Show at the Bali Safari and Marine Park has raised the curtain on its 1,500th performance. Immigration makes it easier to apply for a student visa or temporary stay permit by putting the process online. The traffic police have changed the rules for those applying for a motorcycle or car license.

We also have two stories to share of the triumph of the human spirit. Read about a woman on Nusa Penida who runs her own shop despite being born without arms or legs. Equally inspiring is the story of a young man who has built a technically advanced robotic arm to overcome paralysis in his left arm.