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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Travel app and website TripAdvisor crowned Bali as the "World’s Best Destination in 2017," the first place in Asia to top its "Top 10 Travelers’ Choice Destinations" list.

TripAdvisor's head of destination marketing for Asia Pacific Sarah Mathews handed the award to Bali governor's economic and development assistant Dewa Putu Sunartha in a ceremony at the Seminyak Beach Resort and Spa in Bali on Thursday (20/04).

The Ministry of Tourism's resources development deputy Gede Pitana, who attended the ceremony, said,"This award should attract even more tourists to Bali and Indonesia. We expect 20 million foreign tourists in 2019."

Mathews said the award was based on ratings and reviews written by travelers on the TripAdvisor website. Bali was on top of a list of 419 outstanding tourist destinations across the globe.

"Bali offers the best experiences in food, culture and ecotourism. We want to share them to the rest of the world," Mathews said.

Bali beat London in second place and Paris in third to top the list.

TripAdvisor also declared Ritz Carlton Reserve's Mandapa Resort in Ubud, Bali, as the second best hotel in the world after Aria Hotel in Budapest, Hungary.

Bali's Nusa Dua Beach was also declared one of Asia's Top 25 Beaches in TripAdvisor's 2017 Travelers' Choice list.

 
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Panorama Destination, a subsidiary of tourism company Panorama Group, saw a net income increase of 181 percent last year, reflecting a wider boon in the industry following recent government initiatives to attract more foreign visitors.

The company booked a total Rp 25.6 billion ($1.92 million) in net income last year, up from Rp 9 billion in 2015, while total revenue rose 50 percent to Rp 503 billion.

The government's visa-free policy for tourists from 169 countries and the opening of several new direct flights to destinations across the archipelago contributed to the company's increased revenue last year.

"The government's support for the country's growing tourism industry has benefited us greatly, and we are optimistic and confident about our performance this year," Panorama Destination chief executive and managing director, Renato Domini, said in a statement on Monday (11/04).

The company said its market share is dominated by foreign tourists, with visitors from the Netherlands topping the list, followed by France, Malaysia, India and Poland.

Last year, Panorama Destination catered to nearly 150,000 foreign tourists, an increase of 30 percent compared to 2015. The company said its recent revenue gains were a result of targeting more Chinese tourists, increasing its digital optimization efforts and securing an additional 300 buses to cater to vacationers.

Panorama Destination also plans to open a regional office in Thailand later this year to capitalize on new opportunities in that country.

According to the company, Bali is still the most popular destination for foreign tourists visiting Indonesia, followed by Yogyakarta, Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara, Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara, and Sulawesi.

Panorama Destination will try to attract at least 180,000 foreign tourists this year, while the government has set a broader goal of attracting 15 million visitors to destinations across the archipelago.

 
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            [post_excerpt] => Destinasi Tirta Nusantara, a subsidiary of tourism company Panorama Destination, saw a net income increase of 181 percent last year, reflecting a wider boon in the industry following recent government initiatives to attract more foreign visitors.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Often called "paradise island" by tourists the world over, Bali can be a "paradise lost" for many of its local residents, who face many social issues from child marriage to mistreatment of the mentally ill.

Some of the deep-seated problems have been depicted in artworks shown in the "Mabesikan Festival: Art for Social Change" exhibition at Komunitas Salihara in East Jakarta on Thursday (06/04).

"Mabesikan" — literally "coming together" or "collaboration" — is the result of a two-year project begun in 2015 by Search for Common Ground Indonesia and sponsored by the Danish Embassy. Thursday's one-day exhibition was the final event of the project.

It involved 15 artists and eight non-profit organizations working together to raise awareness and spark initiatives in a total of 10 art projects.

Danish Ambassador to Indonesia Casper Klynge said the project shows Denmark's commitment to support culture in a broader sense, not only helping out Indonesia's creative industry but also enhancing people-to-people interactions.

"This project is all about showing if culture can be used as an instrument to resolve disagreement or conflict," Klynge said.

Search for Common Ground country director Setio Soemeri highlighted three aspects of the project: raising awareness, policy advocacy and education.

"We brought together artists who can convey real meaning in their works and NGOs whose causes are relevant to the issues brought up by the artists. We want to show that art is not only pleasing to the eye but can also raise awareness about current issues," Setio added.

Bali artists fight the power


Artist Made Bayak said one of the biggest problems in Bali is waste management, or lack of it. His project, "Plasticology," taught children to make artworks out of plastic bags and containers.

"We can't stop people from using plastic. Often women in villages know no alternatives. But at least we can stop littering, or, failing that, start recycling," Made said.

A former photographer for the defunct local edition of Playboy Magazine, Rudi Waisnawa, tackled two major subjects with his photos: the shackling of mentally ill patients and local salt production.

Rudi campaigned with Suryani Institute of Mental Health to end the brutal practice of shackling and promote alternative healing methods for the mentally ill. He also held seminars for kindergarten teachers to learn early detection of mental illness.

Rudi also found out that photographing salt farms on the coast of Bali allowed him to see for himself the long-running fight between salt farmers and the tourism industry over valuable real estate on Bali's beaches.

His photos of a disappearing salt farm in Amed, Karangasem, showed just one example of a recurring problem in Bali: beaches traditionally reserved for salt farming being turned into exclusive resorts.

Rudi taught Amed salt farmers how to take photos and together they documented the natural process of salt farming in the area, in hopes of raising awareness to the farmers' plight.

Filmmaker and farmer Dwitra J. Ariana decided to organize filmmaking workshops for young people around Bali for the project, which resulted in three films about social inclusion in Bali.

One of them, "Dilarang Masuk" (No Entry) tells the harrowing story of a friendship between a Balinese child and a child from the neighboring region of East Nusa Tenggara.

In "Welcome to Bali," Balinese and Chinese-Indonesian photographers learn about each other's culture.

"Kamar Sebelah Timur" (The East Room) excoriates the stereotype that people from Eastern Indonesia are prone to violence by showing how difficult it is for Eastern Indonesians to find a place to live in Bali because of discrimination.

Other works in the exhibition included Citra Sasmita's video and art installations that tackled the subjects of child marriage, gender-based violence and women's rights, and puppeteer I Komang Mertha Sedana, better known as Manggen, who teamed up with environmental organization Manikaya Kauci to stage a shadow puppet show about land grabbing in Ubud.
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            [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_647386" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]A Balinese Hindu worshipper attempted to stab himself with kris knives while in a trance on the beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in North Kuta, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Nyimas Laula) A Balinese Hindu worshipper attempted to stab himself with kris knives while in a trance on the beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in North Kuta, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Nyimas Laula)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_647375" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]A procession of Balinese Hindus walked along a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara) A procession of Balinese Hindus walked along a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_647377" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Balinese Hindu men carried Jempana, or symbols of God, along a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara) Balinese Hindu men carried Jempana, or symbols of God, along a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_647378" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Balinese Hindu placed offerings into the ocean during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara) Balinese Hindu placed offerings into the ocean during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_647379" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Balinese Hindu men carried Jempana, or symbols of God, along a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara) Balinese Hindu men carried Jempana, or symbols of God, along a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_647380" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]A procession of Balinese Hindus walked along a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters PhotoAgung Parameswara) A procession of Balinese Hindus walked along a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters PhotoAgung Parameswara)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_647382" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]A procession of Balinese Hindus walked along a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara) A procession of Balinese Hindus walked along a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_647383" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]A Balinese Hindu threw a duck into the ocean as an offering during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara) A Balinese Hindu threw a duck into the ocean as an offering during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_647384" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]A Balinese Hindu woman collected sea water on a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara) A Balinese Hindu woman collected sea water on a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_647373" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]A Balinese Hindu priest sprinkled water on people praying on a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara) A Balinese Hindu priest sprinkled water on people praying on a beach during Melasti, a purification ceremony ahead of the holy day of Nyepi, in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia on Saturday (25/03). (Reuters Photo/Agung Parameswara)[/caption]
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Up to 324 domestic and international flights heading to and from Bali will experience delays during its annual Day of Silence, or Nyepi, on March 28, airport operator Angkasa Pura I said.

The I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport will close for 24 hours during the Hindu holy day. Normal operations will resume at 6.01 a.m. local time the day after on March 29.

"Delays will affect 193 domestic flights and 131 international flights," Angkasa Pura I Bali communication and legal head Arie Ahsanurrohim said on Thursday (23/03).

Most of the delayed flights are heading to and from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, Juanda Airport in Surabaya and Changi Airport in Singapore.

State-owned navigation service operator AirNav Indonesia had already issued a Notice to Airman — an official airport closure notice — to all airlines and airports in the world likely to be affected in December last year.

Despite the closure, the airport could still open its doors for emergency situations, with 316 personnel put on stand by during the day.

"Officials from Angkasa Pura I, AirNav, Immigration, Customs, Port Health, airlines and ground handling services are on standby for any emergency landing," Arie said.

Police and Air Force officers and traditional security guards – known as pecalang – will also patrol the airport area.

The last domestic flights at the airport before the day-long closure will be the arrival of an AirAsia flight from Jakarta and a departing Garuda Indonesia flight to Timika, Papua, at 01.50 a.m on March 28.

The last international flights will be the arrival of an AirAsia flight from Kuala Lumpur and the departure of a Garuda Indonesia flight to Incheon, South Korea.

All bus stations and seaports across the island will also suspend operations during the day.

Nyepi falls on the Bali Hindu New Year and is a national public holiday.

The day coincides with the new moon of the spring equinox each year, and Bali's Hindu residents are expected to stay indoors for a day of reflection — except for the pecalang, who will patrol the island to ensure no outdoor activities take place during the day.
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            [post_date] => 2017-03-24 12:46:51
            [post_name] => hundreds-flights-set-delays-balis-day-silence
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. An earthquake measuring 6.4-magnitude on the Richter scale rocked Bali on Wednesday morning (22/03). No tsunami alert was issued by authorities.

The quake occurred at 07.11 a.m. local time. Its epicenter was detected 23 kilometers southeast of Denpasar, the capital of the province of Bali, at a depth of 117 kilometers.

Strong tremors were felt in the districts of Kuta and Tabanan in Bali and in Mataram in the neighboring island of Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, according to National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

"In Denpasar, tremors were felt for at least five seconds. Many residents fled their homes. Windows on houses rattled and parked cars were shoved around," Sutopo said.

"There were two separate tremors. The second one was stronger," he added.

Residents in the Bali districts of Badung, Tabanan, Klungkung, Gianyar, Karangasem, Singaraja, Bangli and Buleleng also reported slight tremors.

Weaker tremors were also reported in Banyuwangi, a district in East Java closest to the island of Bali.

Sutopo said a 3.9-magnitude aftershock followed the quake, which was triggered by tectonic activities between the Indo-Australia and Eurasia plates.

Residents in Bali have been advised to stay calm and only rely on information issued by authorities.
            [post_title] => BREAKING NEWS: 6.4-Magnitude Quake Rocks Bali
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Montreal-based Airports Council International presented its annual Airport Service Quality awards to two Indonesian airports — I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali, and Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi — on Monday (06/03).

Bali's airport was named the world's third best among airports with a capacity of 15 million to 25 million passengers every year. It earned the same accolade in 2015.

Makassar's Sultan Hasanuddin airport was a new entry in the ASQ awards, being recognized as the most improved airport in Asia Pacific.

State-run Angkasa Pura I operates both airports.

"This recognition is proof of our continued hard work to improve services for airport customers," Danang S. Baskoro, Angkasa Pura I president director, said in a statement.

Angkasa Pura I has been expanding the Sultan Hasanuddin airport since late 2014 to a capacity of 15 million passengers every year from 7 million passengers in 2015.

That year, 9.4 million people actually went through the airport and the number went up to 10.3 million people in 2016, according to Cecep Marga Sonjaya, the airport's general manager, as quoted by Kompas.com.

"These airports have dedicated themselves to give quality service to customers and create an excellent customer experience," Angela Gittens, ACI World director general, said in their statement.

According to Gittens, airports can boost income from its non-aeronautics businesses by maintaining high-quality services.

ACI is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote professional excellence in airport management and operations.

As of January 2016, ACI had 592 members that operate 1,853 airports in 173 countries. They handle more than 7.1 billion passengers, 105 million tons of cargo and 86 million planes worldwide every year.

The ASQ awards are based on surveys of passengers while they are still at the airport — reportedly the only global survey of this kind. In the latest survey, 600,000 airport customers in over 320 airports in 80 countries were interviewed to determine the awards.

There are 34 indicators assessed, including access to the airport, check-in process, security screening, shopping and dining facilities as well as the condition of the airport's restrooms.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. The Bali Police and the Indonesian Army have established a joint task force to provide security during the visit by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia to the island.

Security personnel will be deployed at several popular tourism areas King Salman is planning to visit, Bali Military Command chief Maj. Gen. Kustanto Widiatmoko said on Friday (03/03).

"We have more than 2,500 members of the military, police and local government working together to ensure the safety of the king during his time on the island," Kustanto said.

"Special forces have been placed at several locations on the island that we consider vulnerable to attack. Of course, those locations remain secret," he added.

The Saudi government said King Salman's itinerary does not include any official meetings, though his planned activities on the island have not been made public.

Kustanto said the Indonesian security forces will protect the king and his entourage without interrupting the royal family’s holiday.

"The security details are all laid out. We just have to be sure not to disturb our guests," he said.

Nusa Dua

Security personnel have been deployed in areas surrounding the St. Regis Hotel in Nusa Dua, where King Salman plans to stay.

The royal family has also booked rooms at the nearby Laguna and Hilton hotels, the Bali Hotels Association (BHA) confirmed. The remaining members of King Salman's entourage plan to stay at the JW Marriot and The Westin Resort, also in Nusa Dua.

"I have personally checked all the hotels for security vulnerabilities, including the St. Regis, Hilton, Mulia Bulgari and Laguna hotels. The St. Regis will be closed to the public for the duration of King Salman's stay," Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Petrus R. Golose said.

Saudi security officials are also coordinating with National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian to ensure the safety of the king and his entourage in Bali.

More than 870 officers of the Bali Police will also be on duty to assist the joint security task force.

Helipads and hospitals have been placed on standby in case of any emergency during the king's stay on the island.

 

Watch more on Indonesia Highlights at 8 p.m. tonight at Jakarta Globe News Channel and Facebook Live.
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            [post_excerpt] => The Saudi government said that King Salman’s upcoming itinerary will not include any official meetings, though the Saudi leader's planned activities on the island have not been disclosed to the public.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Qantas is increasing the frequency of its Sydney-Denpasar flight to respond to customer demand, the company said in a statement on Wednesday (01/03).

The Australian flag carrier will fly seven days a week using Boeing 737-800 from Sydney to Denpasar starting March 26.

Previously Qantas offered the flight only four days a week.

However, the flight will be scaled back down to four days a week during low season, from April 27 to May 28.

In December last year, Qantas announced its previously seasonal Sydney to Denpasar flight will be available all year long.

The airline had stopped the routine flight in 2008.

Other airlines that offer a direct flight to Denpasar, Bali, aside from Qantas, are Indonesia's flag carrier Garuda, Virgin Australia and Qantas subsidiary Jetstar.

Only Jetstar currently offers the flight every day of the week.

Indonesia — Bali in particular — is one of Australians' top overseas travel destinations. According to the latest data from Indonesia's statistics agency, 1.03 million overseas tourists visited the country in January, 10.2 percent of which from Australia.

 
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            [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-01 12:05:10
            [post_date] => 2017-03-01 19:05:10
            [post_name] => qantas-offer-sydney-denpasar-flights
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