Bali News 2015 week 1

Garuda Reducing Flights to Japan

New Management Team at Garuda Restructures Route Network reports that Garuda Indonesia will cut back on international flight routes that are unprofitable as part of a financial restructuring program now underway intended to reduce costs.


Garuda’s newly installed CEO, Arif Wibowo, said on Monday, December 29, 2014:  “The restructuring will involve several flight networks. We will restructure 20 major routes. This is one of the main determining factors for Garuda.”


The flight routes that will be curtailed will include fewer frequencies between Jakarta and Haneda, Denpasar (Bali) and Haneda, and Denpasar (Bali) and Brisbane.


Garuda will also postpone for now plans to fly between Jakarta and Nagoya.


In explaining the move, Wibowo said: “Jakarta-Haneda will be reduced from twice a day to once a day. This is also the case for Denpasar-Haneda reduced from twice a day to once. Capacity will be adjusted on flights to Hong Kong and Canton, China.”


The State-owned airline will increase its service to the Middle East and some destination in China. Middle eastern flights to Mecca will be increased to meet the strong demand for minor Haj pilgrimages (umroh).


Addressing China, Wibowo said that Garuda only flies to three Mainland China destinations, with much of the Chinese leisure travel market yet unexplored.


Garuda will continue with plants to increase its domestic network of flights, bringing passengers from remote regions of the country to major air hubs using its fleet of ATR 72-600 turbo-prop aircraft.



Weight Discrimination

Transportation Minister Orders Overloaded Truck Be Refused Access to Bali


Indonesia’s Minister of Transportation, Ignasius Jonan, has ordered that overloaded trucks exceeding specified weight capacities trying to enter Bali be turned back to Java.


As reported by Suara Pembaruan, the Minister issued his orders during a visit to the weighing station located at the Gilimanuk Port on Saturday, December 27, 2014.


Jonan rejected an explanation offered by officials at the weighing station who said that overloaded trucks are either fined or issued a ticket. Jonan said: these trucks must be sent back to where they came from in order to deter such acts in the future.”


The chief of the Gilimanuk weigh station, Made Ardana, confirmed to the press after the Minister’s visit that the order to send overloaded trucks back to Java was a long-standing one. But, in practice, Ardana explained, the implementation of the policy was impeded by other regions that have failed to follow this rule. He said that in Bali the “send back rule” was only enforced selectively based on the degree to which a truck was overloaded.


“Usually, if a truck exceeds its weight limit by only 5%, we still allow it to pass.


"He said his officer will, however, implement the order of the Minister beginning in early January,” said Ardana.


The weigh stationmaster said he would coordinate the "zero-tolerance" enforcement with the police. The new policy was introduced on January 2, 2015.



Endangered: Environmental Activists in Indonesia

Wahli Calls for Protection of Environmental Activists in Indonesia


The Indonesia Environmental Association (Wahli) is seeking protection under the law for the human rights for activists working to protect the Nation’s environment.


As reported by Suara Pembaruan, the executive director of Walhi, Bejo Dewangga, said the need for protection for environmental activists forms one of three recommendations to the Government by his organization at the close of 2014 in response to a commitment made by the Government to end the criminalization of environmental activism, while, at the same time, reviewing all permits and policies connected with the exploitation of natural resources


Dewanga said that mining, plantation agriculture, reforestation projects, reclamation and extractive industries need to be urgently reviewed in Lampung (South Sumatra), Central Java, East Java, Yogyakarta and Bali. Adding, “There is a great deal of manipulation and non-transparency in the administration of these policies that threatens the environment.”


Dewangga complained that there are many efforts to criminalize and arrest environmentalist activists who have opposed these projects. Citing an example, He said that many activists opposed to the reclamation of Benoa Bay in Bali have been terrorized and criminalized.


According to Walhi, activists across Indonesia have experienced similar treatment for their opposition to environmental exploitation.


Wahli has recorded 147 cases of violence against environmental activists in 2012, 227 cases in 2013 and hundreds of cases in 2014.




Raising the Bar on Air Safety

President Orders Review of Aviation Safety in Indonesia Following Crash of QZ8501


Following the crash of AirAsia Indonesia QZ8501, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has demanded that the Indonesian transport ministry urgently review all procedures, flight processes and the condition of the Indonesian air fleet.


Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, president Widodo said: "I have ordered the transport minister to immediately check all procedures, flight processes, and conditions of all planes thoroughly as part of efforts towards prevention and improvements, in line with the suggestions from the International Civil Aviation Organization." The president was speaking at the field headquarters for the ongoing search for the victims of the downed AirAsia Indonesia aircraft in Surabaya.


President Widodo also asked that the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) play a larger role in helping airlines plan for flight safety.


Commenting on the air tragedy, President Joko Widodo said: "I was shocked. I’m worried and sad for the families of the passengers and crew members, and also for all people of Indonesia."


When the President learned of the missing aircraft, he immediately ordered vice-president Jusuf Kalla to reside over the search and recovery process.


Scheduled for a year-end holiday in Bali, Kalla cancelled the visit to be on hand in Surabaya to coordinate recovery efforts.



Where are the Tourists?

Hotel and Restaurant Association Say Increasing Tourist Numbers to Bali are Not Improving Occupancy Levels at Locally-owned Non-Starred Accommodation Providers


Although Bali is predicting tourism to grow by around 10% in 2015 continuing a year-to-year pattern of growth in visitor numbers, hotel operators are bemoaning the seeming anomaly of declining occupancies in the face of more visitors to the Island.


Quoted by The Bali Post, the chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association in Bali (PHRI-Bali), Cokorda Artha Ardana Sukawati, said on Monday, December 29, 2014: “I am sure that tourist visits will increase from 3.2 million (2013) to a number close to 3.6 million (2014), an increase of more than 10%. Despite this demonstrated growth, data received last week from the Center for Statistics (BPS) states that average occupancies at hotels of 61% in 2013 has shrunk to just 60% in 2014. But the non-starred hotels in Bali have suffered the biggest decline in ocupancy rates from 33% to just 30%.”


Cokorda admitted that occupancies of only 30% concerned him greatly as such levels were fare below the break-even point of the affected properties, prompting him to ask where the 10% increase in visitor arrivals had gone to? During this period, the length-of-stay has remained relatively stable at 3.5 days. “This means that there are hotels or other forms of accommodation absorbing the increase in tourists arrival numbers. Seen only from this perspective there is no problem as no matter where these people are staying taxes are being collected from their (financial) transactions.  But our shared concern is about non-starred hotels that are largely owned by local Balinese who are unable to stay in business, leaving them a mere spectators, not as active participants, in the development of Bali tourism.”


Cokorda, who once served as the regent of Gianyar, said the situation demands the intervention of the Government. PHRI-Bali has suggested to non-starred hotels and home stays to organize under the banner of PHRI-Bali in order to seek relief.


Describing what sort of relief might be sought from the Government on behalf of traditional accommodation providers, Cokorda suggested ease of permit issuance might be granted to local businesses in order to ease the situation.  Indonesia’s new Minister of Tourism has decreed that all accommodation providers must be incorporated as PT companies, a requirement seen as burdensome by home stays with only 5-10 rooms.


At the same time, Cokorda called on non-starred properties to seek a breakthrough by preserving a Balinese identity, avoiding the ‘cookie-cutter” approach of hotels in Bali’s South. “What’s the purpose of people traveling far to locations such as Lovina, Candiasa or Ubud if all the hotels are just alike?”



Big Brother is Watching

Bali Installs ATCS Traffic Surveillance at Key Intersections


The Regency of Badung in Bali has finally introduced an Area Traffic Control System (ATCS) at key traffic intersection in Bali considered most prone to traffic jams.


Using computerization and closed circuit television (CCTV) monitoring, allows traffic authorities and the police to monitor and control traffic flows. Based on systems in places such locales as Singapore and Surabaya, police can also capture on camera vehicles violating traffic laws, trace their police registration numbers and issue traffic summons.


Among the traffic intersections (simpang) in Bali now under ATCS surveillance include:

Simpang Banjar Semer Kerobokan, North Kuta

Simpang Dewi Sri Legian, Kuta

Simpang Mertanadi, Kuta

Simpang Iman Bonjol (at the border of Bandung and Denpasar)

Simpang Kunti, Kuta  

The head of the Transportation and Information Service of Badung, Wayan Weda Darmaja, said on December 26, 2014: “ATCS can control traffic from remote locations with officials working from central control rooms.”


The cameras installed in these locations are now able to capture cars breaking the law with high definition cameras, with additional capabilities for close up shots of both the driver and license plate.


Plans are for the installation of 9 more ATCS units in Bandung regency in 2015.


Loudspeakers installed at ATCS intersections will also allow direct communications with errant drivers. The regent of Badung, A.A. Gede Agung, demonstrated this during a visit to the ATCS control center. When a car was being parked in an illegal area near the Mertanadi intersection, Weda took to the loudspeaker delivering a public and very audible scolding to a stratled driver.



Not in the Mood to Party

Bali Governor Welcomes 2015 in Quiet Reflection and Prayer


Prior to the dawning of the New Year, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika called on all elements of the provincial administration to refrain for holding festive parties to mark the transition from 2014 to 2015.


Pastika said prior to New Years Eve: “We will not have parties. From years past we have not held parties.  I hope that (instead) we will pray together, introspect and evaluate.”


As reported by the State News Agency Antara, Pastika said his position on New Year’s celebrations was in keeping with the recommendations of the Interior Minister Tjahjo Kumolo who asked all civil servants - in the National Government, provincial administrations and on the local official bodies to not participate in parties to welcome the New Year out of respect for the victims of the crash of Indonesian AirAsia QZ8501.


“I am in mourning and we are all in a state of mourning (due to the air crash). We cannot miss this opportunity to introspect and pray together,” said the Governor.


Pastika, who served as Chief of Police for Bali, prior to winning the Governor’s race, also invited all government employees and members of public to reflect on what has been achieved and what is planned for 2015.


On New Year’s Eve the Governor opened his official residence for members of the provincial government to join him in prayers to welcome 2015.



Storming Weather Sends AirAsia to Bali

AirAsia Indonesia Flight Makes Emergency Weather Diversion to Bali


An Airplane operated by AirAsia Indonesia flying from Jakarta to Surabaya made an unplanned diversion and landed at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport on Thursday, January 1, 2015 when weather conditions prevented the plane from Landing at Surabaya’s Juanda Airport.


The flight diversion to Bali occurred only four days after the loss of one of its aircraft with 162 passengers and crew on a flight from Surabaya to Singapore.


The communications manager for AirAsia Indonesia, Audrey Progastama Petriny, confirmed the unplanned stop in Bali, as passengers waited out a storm over East Java before eventually landing in Surabaya at 7:00 p.m. on New Years Day.


Petriny explained how AirAsia Indonesia operates its flights from five Indonesian hubs located in Jakarta, Bandung, Bali, Surabaya and Medan.


AirAsia Indonesia operates a fleet of 29 Airbus A320 aircraft flying 21 international and 12 domestic routes.



This Call’s for You

Governor Calls for Telephoning Motorists to Have their Gadgets Confiscated by Police reports that Bali governor Made is asking the police in Bali to take firm action against motorcyclists and motorists who use their mobile phones while driving.


Governor Pastika says phone use while driving motorcycles is a source of many accidents. More than 500 people die in traffic accidents on Bali’s roads each year.


“We need to find a new means of ordering our roads. When someone is driving while using a mobile phone, I ask that they be stopped and their telephone confiscated,” said Pastika.


The Governor’s comments were at the opening of a Road Safety Campaign on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.


The governor blamed the increasing number of highway pileups on the use of hand phones while driving.


In response, the Chief of Police, General Benny Mokalu, affirmed the need for regulations that would allow the police to confiscate the mobile phones of errant drivers.



Crime stoppers: Bali

Bali Chief of Police Cites Crime-Solving Ability of Bali Police as Linked to Declining Crime Rates


At a year-end press conference held at Bali Police Headquarters, Bali’s chief of police Inspector General Benny Mokalu, said criminality was on a dramatic downward trend on the Island.


The press conference held on Tuesday, December 30, 2014, saw General Mokalu say: “From the data and indices we have, almost all criminal trends in the area under the supervision of the Bali police have declined significantly. This is due to cooperation from a number of sources, including the police, media and the general public. Let’s hope that this level of performance can be maintained and improved further."


The Bali Chief of Police maintains that Bali has a special “touch” (taksu) when it comes to law enforcement. “Don't commit a crime in Bali because it will be easy for us to discover your wrongdoing and arrest you. That's one of the plusses of Bali. So don't commit crime in Bali,” Chief Mokalu warned, as quoted by


Moreover, General Mokalu said that in several cases involving foreign nationals in Bali, the Bali police received high praise from other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.


Among the cases earning praise for the way they were handled by the Bali Police was the murder of 62-year-old American Sheila Ann Von Weise who was allegedly murdered in a South Bali hotel room by her 19-year-old daughter and the daughter's 21-year-old boyfriend. Despite efforts to evade arrest. Heather Lois Mack and Tommy Schaefer were arrested less than 12 hours after the murder hiding in a Kuta hotel room.


Similarly, Bali Police earned praise for the arrest made in the murder of Anne-Marie Drozdz (40) from Great Britain on May 22, 2014 and the prosecution of an Indonesia sea captain in the drowning death of 2 Japanese women divers. Said General Mokalu, “All these cases grabbed the world’s attention and were handled quickly, accurately and professionally.”


Other major homicide cases involving foreigners in Bali in 2014 include the stabbing death and robbery of American Paul Latourell (52) in February and the murder of English businessman Robert Ellis (60) by his Indonesian wife in October.


Police statistics show a downturn of 16.65% in major cases from 8,420 files in 2013 to 7,018 files in 2014. “Conventional crime” was down 21% from 7,651 cases in 2013 to 6,012 cases in 2014.


Police report that the number of crimes classified as corruption, human rights violations and non-felonious crimes also declined in 2014.



But Never on a Sunday

AirAsia Indonesia's Right to Fly Surabaya to Singapore Temporarily Suspended


The Indonesian Ministry of Transportation has “frozen” or temporarily suspended permission for AirAsia Indonesia to operate the route between Singapore and Surabaya.


The order took effect from January 2, 2015 and will remain in effect until an investigative evaluation of the loss of QZ8501 is completed. QZ8501 disappeared with 162 souls aboard during a flight from Surabaya to Singapore on Sunday, December 28, 2014. reports that the suspension of the route was ordered in a letter from the Director General of Civil Aviation Number 008/1/1/DRJU-DAU-2015 dated January 2, 2015.


The original route permission, granted by the Indonesian Government to AirAsia Indonesia in October 2014, limited flight operations to Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. By operating QZ8501, AirAsia was operating a non-authorized flight under the terms of routes awarded by the Ministry of Transportation.


Exceptions or changes in route permits must be submitted by the Airline in advance to the government. This was not done in the case of QZ8501


Passengers already holding tickets issued by AirAsia Indonesia to fly between Singapore will be rebooked on alternative flights or issued with refunds by AirAsia Indonesia.


Shown on îs the Indonesian Minister of Transportation, Ignasius Jonan.




Having a Blast on New Years Eve

Nine Treated in Denpasar, Bali for Firework Injuries During New Years Celebration


9 residents of Bali’s capital of Denpasar required emergency medical attention on New Years Eve due to injuries sustained from explosive fireworks.


A spokesperson for Denpasar’s Sanglah General Hospital, Dr. Kadek Nariyantha, confirmed on New Years Day that nine patients required treatment, including a 41-year-old man who suffered eye injuries.


At least two of the nine victims required hospitalization due to the serious nature of their wounds, while the remaining 7 were treated allowed to go home. The nine patients were comprised of 8 men and 1 woman with most suffering wounds to their arms and hands.


The Gianyar Hospital located to the north of Denpasar also treated several firework injuries.


Hospital workers noted that the number of burn and blast injuries resulting from fireworks was less this year than during the same holiday in 2013 when 15 people were treated and five required intensive care.


Other medical cases treated over the New Year at Denpasar’s main hospital included extreme intoxication, traffic accidents and one obstetrics case.



Open for Monkey Business

Iconic Titi Banda Monument Now Stands Guard at Eastern Entrance to Bali's Capital of Denpasar


Bali now has another iconic statue with the completion of the Titi Banda Monument locates at the junction of Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai and Jalan IB Mantra, near Lapangan Kapten Japa.


On Sunday, December 21, 2014, the chief of Denpasar's Hygiene and Parks Division, Ketut Wisada, declared work on the new statue officially completed. Brimming with pride at the monument's completion, Wisada declared the landmark would become an icon of the Island's capital and serve as the point of welcome for those approaching Denpasar from the east.


The scene depicted by the group of statues comprising the Titi Banda Monument is taken from the Ramayana Epic in which Rama rescues his beloved Shinta from the imprisonment of Rahwana who held her prisoner in the Kingdom of Alengka. In his quest of rescue, Rama is accompanied by a band of 18 primate-soldiers who surround the base of monument hurling boulders at the enemy. Standing at Rama's right and left are two of his most trusted generals - also primates, with three more corageous generals stationed at each corner of the statue's site.


The man in charge of the monument's construction, Eka Jayana, explains that the underlying themes of the Titi Banda Monument are cooperation (gotong royong) and the value of unwavering loyalty.


Being Less Romantic

Klungkung Puputan Monument Under Renovation to Achieve a More Open Look



Rp. 50 million (US$4,160) has been allocated by the government of Klungkung to renovate the Puputan Monument in 2015.


Plans are to widen access and visibility at the monument park dedicated to commemorating the Puputan (battle to the death) that took place in Klungkung on April 28, 1908 led by the Raja of Klungkung, Dewa Agung Jambe, against Dutch colonialists seeking to control the local opium trade.


The initial confrontation between the Dutch and the Gelgel forces on April 16, 1908 saw 10 Dutch soldiers and their Commander, Lieutenant Haremaker, killed. Meanwhile in the same battle, 12 men from the Gelgel Palace, including Ida Bagus Putu Gelgel, died.


Seeking to settle scores, a Dutch Expeditionary Force was sent from Batavia (Jakarta) to demand that the Raja of Klungkung and his forces surrender. A 6-day cannon siege was launched on the palace, starting on April 21, 1908. When the Dutch forces arrived at the Palace on April 27, 1908, they landed at nearby Kusamba and Jumpai, quickly defeating local resistance with their superior firepower.


The Dutch soldiers marched the short distance to the Semarapura Palace where they encountered hundred of members of the Royal Household and local residents all dressed in white, signifying their readiness to die before surrendering to the Dutch. In the end, 100 Balinese were killed by the Dutch, including Cokorda Gelgel, Dewa Agung Gde Semarabawa, the princes dowager Dewa Agung Muter and a 12-year old prince.


The Puputan Klungkung Monument is located in the very center of Semarapura, the capital of the regency of Klungkung. Located across the street from the Kertha Gosa Paviillion “hall of justice” and the Semerajaya Museum - the Puputan Monument is distinguished by a 28-meter tall Ligga Yoni or vertical spire that marks the very center of the city. The monument, opened in 1992, is surrounded by four Bale Bengong – meditative pavillions – positioned at each corner of the 123 square meter site.


The repairs on the monument in 2015 will repair cumulative wear and tear on the existing buildings and remove enclosed and visuailly isolated areas now used as romantic rendezvous by local youths.


A detailed engineering plan for renovations at the Monument is now in the hands of Klungkung tourism officials. Adopting a more open and visible design, officials say the “new look” will blend better with the center of the city while removing “lovers nooks.” Accordingly, better lighting also forms part of the new design for the monument area.



Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk

Indonesia to Require Foreign Workers to Speak Indonesian reports beginning in 2015, foreign workers in Indonesia will need to study and command an ability in the Indonesian language in order to be permitted to work in the country.


A competency test in Bahasa Indonesia will soon be introduced as one of the requirements that must be met in order to obtain a work permit in Indonesia, This was announced by the Minister of Manpower, Hanif Dhakiri, on January 3, 2015, who said the language requirement forms part of the revision of 2013 laws governing the use of foreign labor in Indonesia.


“I hope the manpower regulations will be revised by February 2015. So a test on the Indonesian language skills for foreign workers in Indonesia can then soon be quickly implemented,” said Hanif.


The measure is being introduced to control an expected onslaught of foreign workers into Indonesia expected to increase in 2015 with the free flow of workers permitted between ASEAN neighbors.


The Ministry of Manpower is working in cooperation with the Agency for Language Development from the University of Indonesia and will be based on the existing TOIFL (Test of Indonesian as a Foreign Language).


The Manpower Minister said that revisions in the rules for foreign workers would also require aspiring workers to download and complete on line application form. Foreign workers will also need to present a college degree, demonstrate certification of professional competency and subnmit a complete job history.



Seeking to Cover Health Costs for the Poor

Bali Allocates US$31.8 million to Provincial Medicare Scheme While Urging Public to Shift to National Program


The provincial government of Bali has allocated Rp. 382 billion (US$31.8 million) in 2015 to fund the Bali Mandara Medicare Scheme intended to provide free health care to Island residents.


As quoted by the State News Agency Antara, the head of the Provincial Health Department, Dr. Ketut Suarjaya, said that the Bali Mandara Medicare Scheme (JKBM) would continue for at least the coming two years until the beginning of 2017.


During this time, Dr. Suarjaya recommends that the people of Bali make arrangement to follow the national health assurance program.


The Health Department projects that if some of the people now covered under JKBM switched to the National Health Program, (JKN), Bali could save Rp. 190 billion annually. Any savings, said Suarjaya, could then be used to fund JKBM into the future.


The province is urging people to embrace the JKN program in order that more funds will be available for health education, preventative health campaigns, the improvement of the Island’s health infrastructure and other health-related programs.


Present plans are for the Provincial government to subsidize the membership premium for JKN for the poor in Bali.



Price of Premium Drops in Bali

While Premium Fuel Prices Decline, Gasoline Still Costs More in Bali than the Rest of Indonesia


Many in Bali are complaining that the recently reduced cost of premium gas to Rp. 7,950 per liter is unfair inasmuch as it is the highest price charged nationally for gasoline.


As reported by, citizens in Bali complain that the higher price paid by the Balinese fails to take into account the condition of the local economy as a whole.


One Balinese, Made Sudarma, who works at a hotel in Nusa Dua, said the price of Rp. 7,950 per liter was unjust, while other regions of Indonesia are only paying Rp. 7,600 per liter.


“Setting the price (at this level) is not fair - other regions are only paying Rp. 7,600 per liter, but in Bali the price is Rp. 7.950 per liter. Why isn't the price the same everywhere in Indonesia?” commented Sudarma.


He added that the higher price was a burden for the people of Bali, particularly the poor. The price of many basic necessities have increased recently, making the higher gasoline price in comparison to other regions all the more burdensome.


On January 1, 2015, the Government suspended fuel subsidies for Premium gasoline allowing the price to follow world market prices. As a result, the cost of Premium reduced from Rp. 8.500 per liter to Rp. 7,600 per liter. But, because of a local tax applied to the price of fuel in Bali, the price is now Rp. 7,950 per liter.



Surabaya Travel Alert

U.S Government Issues Warning for Americans Traveling or Living in Surabaya, East Java


The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta has issued a security message warning its citizens of a potential threat against U.S.-associated hotels and banks in Surabaya, East Java.


Issues in the first days of 2015, the Embassy said it “has been made aware of a potential threat against US-associated hotels and banks in Surabaya, Indonesia.” As a result, heightened vigilance and awareness for people visiting such establishments is being urged by the U.S. State Department.


The warning was issued and posted on the U.S. Embassy website on Saturday, January 3, 2015.


Local press reports and the official announcement from the U.S. Embassy did not provide additional details on the “possible threat” and the source of the information that prompted the warning for Amricans living or visiting Surabaya.



How to Fill a Hotel with Paying Guests

Yonathan of Hotel Link Solutions-Indonesia Named Top Global Sales Person of 2014


Hotel Link Solutions – an award-winning company providing digital marketing solutions, and booking and distribution systems for accommodation providers ranging from small villas to major hotel properties – has named one of its Indonesian affiliates as its “Top Sales Person” internationally for 2014.


Named as Hotel Link Solutions "best global salesperson for 2014" was Yonathan – a Digital Marketing Consultant working in Bali with Hotel Link Solutions – Indonesia.  Yontahan – also known as “Joe” by his coworkers – won dual honors for turning in the best Q4 results for 2014 (219% above targeted sales) and the top sales performance for the entire year of 2014 (321% above targets).


Commenting on his award, Yonathan confessed the greatest satisfaction he derives is his ability to quickly deliver on behalf of Hotel Link Solutions highly-affordable websites that empower Indonesian hotel operators – allowing them to tap into the latest digital strategies intended to dramatically increase on-line bookings.


“Helping clients have androgynous websites that work on both standard computers and mobile devices; creating a state-of-the-art booking engine that works across a broad range of OTAs and property management systems; integrating the all-important social network into a property’s on-line presences; and enabling hotels to transact instantaneous on-line payment and confirmation - the results have been amazing, with on-line bookings direct and via OTAs increasing by as much as 400%,” explained Yonathan.


Yonathan said he is looking forward to an even more productive 2015 armed with the latest version of the Hotel Link Solution Desktop Platform that provides even small inns and villas with powerful new tools to monitor their websites and the websites of competing properties. Hotel Link Solutions also includes monthly “Health Checks” for all its clients that identifies action steps for improving a website and monitors the realization of those improvements from month to month.


Chandra Himawan, general manager of Hotel Link Solutions – Indonesia, said he was very proud that a member of his team has been recognized as the best in the world among the global network of people offering this product.


To learn more about Hotel Link Solutions and the very affordable digital marketing solutions it provides to hotels, inns and villas in Indonesia contact Yonathan at [Email]


Hotel Link Solutions - Indonesia will be holding a free-of-charge seminar on succesful strategies for on-line digital marketing for hotels and villas on Thursday, January 27, 2014 in Sanur, Bali. Limited seating is available. Contact Hotel Link Solutions Email to book a space.



We Get Mail!

A Year-end Check of the Mail Bag Finds Letters on Kintamani, Bali Reclamation, Pelni Ships, Uncontrolled Tourism Growth and the Death or Ida Bagus Kompiang


Not only does Santa gets mail, but and Bali Update received its fair share of letters as 2014 drew to an end.


Here’s a sampling of comments from our mailbag.


Our coverage of recommendations from the Association of Travel Agents (ASITA) to the Regency of Bangli “The Fools on the Hill” on how to better manage the tourism destination of Kintamani earned several letters:

Wendy Foldes wrote:


"These suggestions sound wonderful.  I hope Bangli takes them to heart, not as negative criticism, but to improve the experience for the people who want to get have the best time possible when visiting."


Meanwhile Dirk Werken said:


“I'm visiting Macau at the moment and see the difference between Bali immediately upon arrival here.

No waiting queues at the airport.

Free visa for 3 months.

No one pushing or bothering with taxi's you don't need.

Excellent bus service from airport to Macau.

Plenty of public toilets all over the place – all clean and for free.

No rubbish on the road or anywhere to be seen.

Lots of free bus transportation from and to many casinos.

A good public transport service around Macau and the surrounding islands.

I haven't seen any one trying to sell me something I don't want or need.”


“Coming back to Kintamani - if traveling from, let’s say, north to south a compulsory fee is demanded just for looking at Mt. Batur which I have seen I don't know how many times. These days I try to avoid traveling that way because that fee. Bali has to learn a lot from the rest of the world if they don't want to lose face.”


The article “Indonesian Tourism Boom Targeted to Continue” revealing that Indonesia is aiming to attract 10 million foreign visitors in 2015 earned one spirited rejoinder:

Henry in Bali wrote:


“With the recent atrocious traffic does the tourism minister really think the 'new' tourists are going to come back? I have spoken with many new tourists and expats over the past week who told me they will never come back because of the traffic problems and the almost weekly price increases on food; higher restaurant prices and reduced portions; and flooding.”


“Bali is gradually shooting itself in the foot and something has to be done about the shameful rip offs by Bali businesses. The Bali Tourism Association and the government really do need to look further than praising the extra tourists. Yes, many new ones arrive but the same amount are never coming back.”


“Infrastructure and the continuing developments need to be seriously addressed if they want more tourists to return. I am an expat and I love Bali dearly, but it saddens me to see what once was a beautiful tropical island turn into Disneyland.”


Our editorial “No More Dog and Pony Shows, Please!” that called for more transparency and examined the recent history of “big projects” centered around Benoa Bay earned many responses, a few of which were printable. The same article called into question the seemingly nefarious and mysterious role-played by soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo in defending Bali’s mangroves.

Andreas from Sweden pointedly asked:


“Has anyone informed Cristiano Ronaldo how he has been mislead, used and abused?” would be delighted to publish any explanation Cristiano Ronaldo would like to share with the people of Bali.


Our review of an editorial in The Jakarta Globe  “When a Bay Becomes a Quagmire" suggesting President Joko Widodo should abandon the Benoa Bay reclamation scheme got several letters.

One of which came from a reader calling himself Johnny Cool, who said:


“This scenario has been going on for years. Screwing up Benoa Harbor is a stupid idea. No need for more ‘investigations.’ Anybody with half a brain already knows this is ridiculous, benefits no one (apart from non-Balinese investors), is unsustainable and basically an environmental criminal act of the first magnitude.”

An article highlighting  how Pelni and the Ministry of Transportation can suddenly double the passenger carrying capacity of ships during holiday seasons “A Sinking Feeling” - left many reader incredulous.

Henry in Bali wrote in:


“This is utter madness with complete disregard for the safety of passengers. I sometimes wonder where these decisions are made?”

Finally, our coverage of the death of Bali travel industry legend Ida Bagus Kompiang - Bali’s Loses Much-Loved Tourism Pioneer brought several letters:

Peter Luce wrote to share his personal recollections of Bapak Kompiang:


“I wanted to add this. I played golf with him many times. He told me this story: when he was young he was sent overseas, I think to Netherlands, prior to WW2. While there, he was surprised to learn that Europeans coveted beachfront land, unlike the Balinese, who shunned it.”


“After returning home to Sanur, he quietly bought up all the beachfront land in central Sanur he could get. Most plots he didn't even have to pay for - just pay the back taxes, because nobody wanted that land. After the war, when the Indonesian government wanted to build the Bali Beach Hotel - given from the Japanese as war reparations, Kompiang sold them the land for the hotel and golf course. He kept a smaller piece next door for his own family hotel.”


Another Bali resident Roger Kalhoefer offered:


“What a great man. If you know something of Sanur Tourism, you must know about Pak Kompiang! I only met him about 8 years ago, but what a presence he cast as he walked, sang and greeted guests along the Sanur Walkway near his Segara Beach Hotel. He truly talked the talk, and walked the walk. Rest in Peace.”


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