#AirAsia opens new routes from Indonesia to Mumbai, Macau

AirAsia has opened new international routes to Mumbai, India, and Macau, China, to tap into high demand among tourists from the two countries.

“The growing number of Chinese and Indian tourists coming to Indonesia boosts our spirit to launch the new routes,” said AirAsia Group CEO for Indonesia Dendy Kurniawan on Wednesday, as quoted by tempo.co.

Dendy added that the company was committed to supporting the government’s efforts to develop Indonesian tourism by extending its route network and offering services at affordable prices.

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AirAsia Indonesia is set to operate the direct flight from Jakarta to Macau three times per week in a first phase starting on Aug. 7 and four times per week starting on Sept. 1 for the second phase. With promo fares starting from Rp 888,000 for the period of Aug. 7 to June 5, the new service will use an Airbus A320-200 that can accommodate 180 passengers.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai route will start on May 19 and connect to Bali – with a transit of 65 minutes in Kuala Lumpur. AirAsia X Indonesia plans to serve the flight seven times per week using aircraft that can accommodate 377 passengers.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Read also: AirAsia to launch Denpasar-Tokyo route

Australian pedophile denied entry into #Bali

An Australian man was denied entry into Bali on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in a pedophile case. The Australian, identified only by the initials BGC, was rejected upon his arrival at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport at 1:30 p.m. on Jetstar Airlines JQ43 from Melbourne, Australia.

Immigration chief Ari Budijanto told The Jakarta Post that BGC was rejected because his name was included on the banned entry list.

“He is on the banned entry list as was involved in a pedophile case in his country,” Ari said in Denpasar.

(Read also: Australian pedophile gets 15 years’ imprisonment in Bali)

The banned entry list is based on cooperation between interpol and neighboring countries, including Australia.  

Ari said BGC accepted the denial. “He could not fight against us,” he said. 

BGC was flown back to Melbourne at 11:15 p.m. on Jetstar Airlines flight number JQ58. 

Previously, other Australians have also been rejected from entering Bali.

On Jan. 6 this year, James William Pender was stopped upon his arrival at the airport. He was traveling from Malaysia at the time.

On Jan. 27, Daniel Bryan Wilson was refused entry when he arrived from Perth on Air Asia flight QZ537. 

On March 21, Roderick John Pypers was deported back to Australia soon after he arrived in Bali from Sydney on Jetstar Airlines JQ 37.

Source – TheJakartaPost

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#Indonesia – Ministry wants travel agencies to create ‘New Bali’ package tours

The Ministry of Tourism wants travel agents to come up with 10 new package tours that they will call the “New Balis” in order to entice international tourists to visit not only the Island of the Gods but also other places of Indonesia.

As the ministry enters the second year of its three-year business plan for the promotion of tourism outside Bali, the focus has shifted from branding, which was executed last year, to advertising. In 2018, the government aims to reach the selling stage.

“If branding is catching people’s attention, advertising aims to persuade people to come to Indonesia, while selling includes giving discounts and price cuts,’ said Tourism Minister Arief Yahya.

“Both airlines and travel agents need to be creative. Perhaps they can do joint promotions or hard-selling promotions to attract tourists to come to Indonesia,” he added.

The ministry is also hoping that the promotion of less popular destinations will distribute air traffic more evenly, alleviating congestion at the airports serving Bali and Jakarta. “The air connectivity problem is an urgent matter for us, since most tourists come to Indonesia by airplane,” said Hiramsyah Sambudy Thaib, who heads a team at the Tourism Ministry tasked with accelerating the development of new tourism hot spots.

The ten promoted destinations include Solo, Medan and Lombok, all of which have their own airport operating 24 hours a day. Airports that are currently being upgraded to accommodate large planes are Silangit Airport in North Sumatra and Leo Wattimena Airport in North Maluku.

“This is a huge opportunity for both airlines and travel agents. They can reverse the tour offerings from two days in Bali and one day in Lombok, for example, to one day in Bali and two days in Lombok, so that it won’t all be concentrated in Bali,” he added.

Construction work to extend the runway of Silangit Airport is slated to conclude by September. Meanwhile, Leo Wattimena Airport currently can only accommodate ATR 72 planes. An upgrade will enable the airport to accommodate Boeing 737s to attract tourists to Morotai. The runway extension is targeted for completion by June next year.

To support continued growth in air traffic, the government is in a process of deregulation to make it easier for airlines to add more flights to Indonesia.

Source – TheJakartaPost

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Divers clean up Bali reefs

Forty-four divers cleaned up the underwater area around Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa, two of the most popular destinations for snorkeling and watersports in Bali.

The divers from the Nusa Dua Reef Foundation (NDRF), divers associations and watersports operators collected 25 sacks of plastic and other non-organic trash from the area, which is rich in species of coral and fish.

“Non-organic trash is a serious problem that has threatened the health and beauty of the marine ecosystem in Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa. They are popular destinations for marine tourism, which heavily relies on the beauty of the coral reefs,” said Pariama Hutasoit of the NDRF on Friday.

Every year, she said, 8 tons of plastic trash ended up in the sea in the area, threatening marine life, harming seabirds, sea mammals and killing fish and coral reefs. The trash was often carried away by currents, polluting beaches and disrupting tourist activities along the coastline.

During the World Ocean Summit in Bali last month, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) declared war on plastic trash in the ocean through its worldwide campaign of #CleanSeas.  The Indonesian government has also made a commitment to reduce plastic trash by 70 percent by 2025.

Since 2014, the NDRF has teamed up with Conrad Bali to clean up underwater areas.

“This time, we are focusing the underwater clean-up on areas around Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa. We aim to clear non-organic trash and raise public awareness on the importance of coral reefs and to support the #CleanSeas campaign,” Pariama said.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Indonesia – Ocean Summit in Bali to discuss future of ‘blue’ economy

With seas around the globe facing unprecedented pressures caused by humans’ reckless endeavors, ranging from exploitative fishing to pollution, prominent international institutions and industry leaders as well as scientists and government representatives are set to convene to discuss the future of a sustainable ocean economy.

The three-day World Ocean Summit on Feb. 22 to Feb. 24 will be held at the Sofitel Nusa Dua Beach Resort. As many as 360 speakers and participants are expected to attend the summit.

Organized by the global media group The Economist and sponsored by influential organizations, including the Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund, the summit aims to start a new discussion on how capital and the private sector can drive scalable, sustainable investment in the ocean.

The summit is expected to provide important insights and networking opportunities for Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelagic state, as well as countries in the Asia-Pacific, most of which have significant dependence on the ocean economy. The region has also witnessed growing tensions between economic giant China and a number of its neighbors, triggered by territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla is slated to speak on Indonesia’s ocean and maritime agenda on the second day of the summit with The Economist’s editor-inchief Zanny Minton Beddoes as the interviewer.

Meanwhile, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, who is quite popular here due to her fierce crackdown on illegal fishing in Indonesian waters, will speak on the last day of the conference in the “What comes next: a call for commitments” panel alongside the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella and Sweden’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Olof Skoog.

Other speakers include UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson, the World Bank’s vice president for sustainable development, Laura Tuck, the UN Environmental Programme’s executive director, Erik Solheim, and former director general of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy.

Several influential figures from the global financial world, including Credit Suisse’s Mark Burrows, Citigroup’s Michael Eckhart, European Investment Bank’s Jonathan Taylor and Climate Bonds Initiative’s Sean Kidney, will also share their thoughts in the summit.

The featured topics include investment framework for the ocean, China and the ocean economy, realizing the ocean’s investment potential, the global ocean agenda and scaling the response to pollution and plastics.

The last topic will see the appearance of Boyan Slat, the youngest-ever recipient of the UN’s highest environmental accolade, Champion of the Earth. He is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, which develops advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. Instead of trying to clean up each piece of plastic, Slat devised a system through which, driven by ocean currents, the plastic would concentrate itself, reducing the theoretical clean-up time from millennia to mere years.

Previous ocean summits were held in 2015 in Portugal and in 2014 in the United States.

Source: TheJakartaPost

Action needed to lure 10 million Chinese tourists to Indonesia

Shì shí shèng yú xióng biàn (actions speak louder than words), according to the Chinese proverb and more action is what Indonesia needs to realize its ambitious goal to attract 10 million tourists from the world’s second-largest economy by 2019.

The latest data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) show that even though there was a 25 percent annual increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Indonesia in 2016, the increase only resulted in 1.43 million tourists, falling short of the original target of welcoming 1.7 million Chinese tourists last year.

In addition to the Chinese tourists, the total number of tourists also fell short of its 12 million goal, standing at 11.5 million only.

With the latest result, the tourist industry under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration has until now attracted 3.6 million Chinese tourists, making the 10 million benchmark difficult to achieve.

Indonesia must carry out extra efforts to lure more than 2 million Chinese tourists every year for the next three years, while at the same time, neighboring countries are also eyeing a bigger slice of the pie of the outbound Chinese tourist figure, which stands at more than 120 million globally per year.

The Tourism Ministry’s AsiaPacific promotions director, Vinsensius Jemadu, said the problem was mostly related to a lack of flight access from China to Indonesian cities, beyond Denpasar in Bali and Jakarta, even though the visa requirement had been scrapped in 2015.

“Our competitor, Thailand, can welcome 8 to 9 million Chinese tourists per year. Imagine, there are airlines that can connect 15 cities in China and Thailand,” he said on Thursday.

Thailand is indeed a very attractive destination in Southeast Asia for Chinese tourists. Thailand welcomed 8.87 million Chinese tourists last year, an increase of 12 percent from 2015, dominating Thailand’s list of foreign tourists.

The Thai government expects to see 9 million Chinese visitors this year, boosting its tourist industry, which already accounts for 11 percent of Thailand’s US$395 billion gross domestic product (GDP).

Meanwhile, Singapore and Vietnam welcomed more than 2 million Chinese tourists last year.

In Indonesia, most of the airlines connecting Chinese cities and Indonesia are charter flights. The government plans to work with more airlines this year to provide wider access.

“We can increase promotion, but if they don’t know how to get here, it will be very hard. Even when we promote in the secondary and tertiary cities in China, they still need to go to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, which costs a lot. So they go to Thailand, Malaysia,” Vinsensius added.

With 80 percent of foreign tourists arriving in Indonesia by air transportation, the ministry is gearing up to roll out a stimulus for airlines to open routes to destinations other than Bali and Jakarta.

Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) vice chairman for tourism Kosmian Pudjiadi voiced a similar concern, stating that the number of direct flights from China needed to be increased, with connections to at least 25 Chinese cities.

The government expects to welcome 15 million tourists in 2017, with 2.1 million tourists expected from China. Jokowi has signed an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to attract 10 million tourists from China.

However, funding is also an issue for the ministry, as it faces a lower promotional budget as a result of state budget cuts, forcing it to cancel several sales missions and selling activities in China.

Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani attributed the failure to reach last year’s target to a lack of sales despite heavy promotional efforts.

“Our brand has improved, but to make more people visit, there needs to be actual selling,” he said

Source: TheJakartaPost

Bali – ‘Love Bridge’ in Nusa Penida opens late February

A bridge connecting Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, both in Nusa Penida, Klungkung regency, Bali, is set to be inaugurated through a melaspas (consecration) ceremony on Feb. 25.

“[This bridge] will serve as a tourist attraction for those visiting the small island,” Klungkung Regent Nyoman Suwirta was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

Also known as the Love Bridge, the 140-meter-long, 1.8-meter-wide bridge, which will be used only by pedestrians and motorcycle riders, will replace one that collapsed in October last year.

Project supervisor Siswanto said the bridge cost Rp 3.4 billion (US$255,600) to build and could sustain 30 tons in weight.

Built in 1995, the old bridge collapsed last year, claiming the lives of six adults and two children who were on their way home from a Nyepi Segara ceremony at Bakung Temple. Thirty-four others were injured. (wir/kes)

Source: TheJakartaPost

More Beautiful Views of Nusa Penida You Won’t Believe are in Bali

More Asians are traveling around the world

The number of international tourists rose by 4% worldwide to 1.2 billion last year as Asians traveled more, but security fears hit visitor arrivals in Europe, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) said.

The number of people living in Asia and discovering both their own region and the rest of the world rose 8% compared to 2015, the Madrid-based body said.

The Asia-Pacific area, meanwhile, proved a popular destination – the second most visited region after Europe.

But the UN body cautioned that while Europe was still blessed with 620 million tourists last year, the growth in the number of visitors had slowed due to security concerns.

WTO chief Taleb Rifai told reporters the results in Europe varied widely from one country to the next. He refused to give a much-anticipated ranking of the most visited countries, saying this would be unveiled later.

In 2015, France ranked number one, followed by the United States and Spain.

Source: TheNation