Bali packed with tourists on Christmas day despite volcanic eruptions

Local and international tourists are flocking to some destinations on the resort island of Bali on Christmas day on Monday despite Mount Agung’s continuous eruptions.

Mount Agung erupted again on Sunday, spewing ash 2.5 kilometers high. However, the government has assured that the resort island is safe for tourists.

“Bali appeals [to me] more than other regions. Though the eruption has gone viral on social media, it has not discouraged me from visiting Bali,” Anita, a tourist from Jakarta, told in Gianyar on Monday.

Anita said she was not worried with the eruption because she knew that Mount Agung was located far away from most tourist destinations. For example, it is located about 75 km from the resort hub of Kuta.

“What’s more is that the government has assured that if Ngurah Rai Airport suddenly closes people will be looked after,” said Anita, who was on holiday in Bali with her family until the New Year.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Sunday that until now 71, 045 local residents had moved to 239 displaced person points prepared by the government throughout the island. He also stated that Bali “is still safe” for tourists.

“Bali is safe. Do not be afraid to visit Bali,” Sutopo said in a statement.

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Protests against the benoa bay reclamation

The rumbling sounds of gamelan reverberated during a demonstration held by Forum Rakyat Bali (ForBali) to reject the plan for the Benoa Bay reclamation.

As reported by Tribun Bali, the traditional, call-to-action orchestra accompanied their march to Intaran Traditional Village in Sanur. Made Ludra Santika, representative from the Seminyak-based ForBali, said that the people of Bali will never stop protesting until the reclamation and the Presidential Regulation no.51 Year 2014 are cancelled.

“A united citizen cannot be defeated!” he said repeatedly during his fiery oration at the intersection of Intaran Sanur on Sunday (07/05). “We will not stop until the regulation is cancelled.”

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Pekutatan Beach Becomes a Magnet to Foreign Travelers

A side from Medewi and Baluk Rening, Jembrana also has Pekutatan Beach. The beach on the east side of Jembrana has a long and wide stretch of sand. The beach chosen as the sojourn by the troops of the national hero I Gusti Ngurah Rai is still unspoiled from mass tourism. However, the charm of this beach has drawn the interest of foreign travelers desiring to enjoy the atmosphere of the tranquil and pristine beach.
The coast located at Pekutatan village is still widely embellished with towering and swaying palm trees. This ambience reminds us of the ​​Kuta Beach area long before growing rapidly into the current development. The view becomes tourist attraction apart from the vast expanse of the beach. Location of the beach also lies in the same track as a number of other interesting sights in the subdistrict of Pekutatan.
This subdistrict offers Medewi Beach as surfing site, Bunut Bolong (ficus tunnel tree) and Juwuk Manis waterfall. Other than enjoying the remaining beautiful village atmosphere, visitors can explore the atmosphere of rubber plantation. The waters of Pekutatan also has a challenging jogging track for fishing hobbyists. Pekutatan is plotted into tourist area in the Jembrana district in addition to Gilimanuk. Supporting tourism facilities like restaurant and hotel and infrastructure are developing here.
Local government begins to arrange a number of tourism supporting facilities, such as grilled fish stall on the edge of Pekutatan Beach and arrangement of the road leading to the beach. Headman of Pekutatan, I Gede Silagunada, said that the beach in this region becomes one of the tourist destinations, especially foreign tourists that want to luxuriate in a private atmosphere.
Although located far from the town center, the price of land in Pekutatan has soared reaching almost the same as in the town as becoming a tourist area. “Probably it is also influenced by the issue on the construction of F1 circuit and airport, so the land price soars,” he said some time ago. A number of hotels in Pekutatan also have their own foreign market share.

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Sweet Sunrise at Tanah Lot

The tourist attraction of Tanah Lot is famous for its spectacular view and for the cultural practices that take place here that are unique in the world. The of Tanah Lot is dominated by the the beautiful stepped rice fields, coconut trees and surrounding rain forest. The farming culture of Bali and the natural setting of the temple are closely tied in with Balinese Hinduism.

Everywhere you go on Bali, you will see Hindu temples and the lifestyle of the Balinese people are strongly tied in with their religion. This is why Bali is known as the Island of the Gods, The Island of a Thousand Temples and Paradise Island. “The area Tanah Lot is also a sacred area with many temples. These sacred places emit a positive aura that makes everyone who visits feel clam and peaceful” said Operations Manager of Tanah Lot, I Ketut Toya Adnyana.

Tanah Lot is one of Bali’s most important ‘sea temples’ and is built atop a massive rock just off the coast. This temple was built by one of the last priests to come to Bali from Java in the 16th century and of many the rituals that are performed here pay homage to the guardian of the sea. The Poisonous snakes that reside at the base of the temples rock island are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders.

Tanah Lot has a lively history and is still revered as a sacred area. The beach often fills up with brightly clad Balinese Hindus honoring auspicious days with various different ceremonies. This is also a great place to watch the sunrise, -especially from Enjung Galuh and Sunset Terrace, though sunset is also a good time to visit as the evening sun casts the temple in silhouette. Some people also enjoy surfing here. Tanah Lot is very tourist-friendly with a number of high quality facilities in the area.

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Valentino Rossi to visit Bali

Italian MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi is slated to visit Bali in January to meet Yahama national dealers and communities.

“I’d like to thank Indonesian fans for their continuous support. In 2015, Yamaha won the triple crown MotoGP, but unfortunately I didn’t win my 10th world champion title. Indonesian fans are very special to me and I will give everything I’ve got to thank them by presenting as many titles as possible on the trek. See you soon in Bali!” said Rossi in a press release on Monday.

Yamaha secured the triple crown during the 2015 MotoGP season, consisting of the rider, team and manufacturer’s titles. Beating Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, who also rode for Yamaha, won last year’s rider title.

“[Rossi’s visit is] another surprise from Yamaha to Indonesian people at the beginning of 2016. It will give a boost at the circuit for Rossi prior to competing for this year’s MotoGP since he has so many supporters in the country,” said PT Yamaha Indonesia Motor Manufacturing general manager marketing assistant, Mohammad Masykur.

Rossi has previously visited other cities in Indonesia including Jakarta, Surabaya in East Java and Medan in North Sumatra.

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Bali Eyes More Chinese Tourists in 2016

Bali’s Association of Travel Bureaus (Asita Bali) is optimistic of witnessing a surge in the number Chinese tourists visiting Bali in 2016.

Direct flights from Chinese cities to Bali Island could help increase the number of Chinese tourist arrivals, Chairman of Asita Bali I Ketut Ardana stated here, Monday.

On January 12, 2016, Garuda Indonesia launched a direct flight connecting Shanghai in China with Denpasar in Bali Island.

“Recently, additional flights have been started to Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzou,” he added.

With a population of over a billion people, China contributes at least 100 million tourists making overseas trips a year.

The number of Chinese tourist arrivals in Bali has increased significantly over the past few years, placing China as the second-largest tourist contributor, after Australia.

From January to November 2015, Bali received 642 thousand Chinese tourists, up 19 percent from 539,371 tourists recorded in the same period in 2014.

Bali has set a target to attract 4.2 million foreign tourists in 2016, a slight increase from four million in 2015.

In the meantime, the nation’s flag carrier Garuda Indonesia recently opened a new route to China between Denpasar in Bali and Shanghai.

Earlier, Garuda had already operated regular flights on the Denpasar-Beijing and Denpasar-Guangzhou routes.

Commercial Director of Garuda Indonesia Handayani noted in a statement on Thursday that China had been one of the priority areas for the airline’s international flights aimed at facilitating tourists from the world’s most populous country.

The number of Chinese visitors to Indonesia has increased year on year, up 25 percent in the first eight months of 2015.

Garuda Indonesia serves the Denpasar-Shanghai route thrice a week on every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday using the A330-300 aircraft, with a seating capacity of 360 passengers.

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Kuta Tourist Area Needs Reform and Management

The tourist region of Kuta, in the Indonesian island resort of Bali, in 2016 needs reform and management in various supporting sectors such as traffic management and environmental hygiene, according to tourism practitioner Nyoman Sarjana.

“The Kuta tourist area will face a great challenge in the future because from year to year the traffic there continues to get crowded. Therefore, the government and stakeholders in the tourism sector should all move to improve tourism in Bali, particularly in Kuta,” Nyoman remarked here Friday.

If the iconic tourism of Bali is not properly managed, it is feared that the tourists will be bored of coming to Kuta and find another destination instead, he noted.

“It is because other areas in Indonesia are also managing their tourist attractions to attract more tourists,” Nyoman said, and added that foreign tourists who come to Bali feel comfortable and safe, and therefore this factor should be the priority while developing tourism.

“Indeed, Bali is famous for art and culture since the ancient times. However, if it is not accompanied by comfort and security, domestic and foreign tourists will look for the other tourist attractions outside Bali,” he went on.

In addition, the government and stakeholders should pay attention to hygiene, because the presence of garbage is in the spotlight in the world of tourism, he noted.

“We have to find the solution to overcome the garbage problem in Bali, and all parties must be concerned about the environment,” he said.

Furthermore, all parties should make every effort to keep the island resort of Bali clean and green, he added.

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Bali Selected as World’s Best Island

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said he was proud of Bali for being selected as one of the world’s best islands by the US Travel+Leisure Magazine at the end of 2015.

“I am very proud of Bali for being selected as one of the world’s best islands,” the minister said here several day ago.

Based on the New York-based Travel+Leisure Magazine, the ratings of the world’s best islands are Galapagos Islands of Ecuador with a score of 90.82, Bali of Indonesia (Score 88.98), Maldives (score: 88.53), Tasmania of Australia (score: 88.32), Santorini of Greece (score: 87.93), Moorea of French Polynesia (score: 87.90), Maui of Hawaii (score: 87.89), Kauai of Hawaii (score: 87,88), Great Barrier Reef of Australia (score: 87.31), and Malta (score: 86.90).

The minister said he was proud of the trust given to Bali by the world community which appreciated Bali for the beauty of its nature, the uniqueness of its culture and the hospitality of its people.

The minister said he would promote other destinations in the country whose beauty were not inferior to that of Bali.

“We have to be confident that our tourism is great for snorkling with the beauty of its diving tourism. We can outclass Galapagos, even with our two Rajaampat and Pulau Komodo tourist distinations,” he said.

The Travel + Leisure is a monthly magazine based in New York with 4.8 million readers. It is the biggest competitor of Conde Nast Traveler and National Geographic Traveler.

In the meantime, the Bali Tourism Office has set the target for tourist arrivals at the world-renowned tourist island at 4.2 million for 2016.

“This is a provisional target. We have not made detailed calculations because we still have to coordinate with the Udayana University. Ideally, it should be 4.5 million but we cannot set a target recklessly,” Head of the Bali Tourism Office Anak Agung Gede Yuniartha Putra said.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of a function marking the inauguration of the executive board members of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) on December 16, 2015.

The provisional target would be only 200 thousand more tourists, compared to the target set for tourist arrivals in 2015 at 4 million, he said.

“To achieve the target of tourist arrivals next year, we will receive promotion assistance from the central government. In addition, we have also prepared a calendar of activities to be organized throughout 2016,” he said.

With the calendar of activities, tourists would be assured of cultural and tourism activities taking place in Bali, he said.

The tourism office has also set the target of domestic tourists visiting the resort island for 2016 at 7.8 million, he said.

The Chairman of PHRI of Bali Chapter, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, urged that for increasing the number of tourist arrivals, the quality of tourist destinations in Bali needs to be improved.

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