Saturday, January 24, 2009

High Fares and Bad World Economy May Cause Big Drop in European and American Travelers to Bali in 2009 quotes the Chairman of the Bali branch of the Indonesian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) as projecting a drop of between 30-40% in American and European visitors to Bali in 2009. The growing financial crisis in Europe and the U.S.A. is seen by ASITA as certain to cause visitors from these markets to cancel or delay a holiday abroad.

In 2008, according to ASITA, an average of 4,000-5,000 American and 35,000-40,000 European tourists came to Bali each month.

The Chairman of the Bali Chapter of ASITA, Al Purwa, told that in addition to the current financial crisis, the high cost of transportation was also playing a major role in the expected downturn in American and European tourists to the island. "The biggest drops will come from Europe, America and Canada because the airfares are so expensive," explained Purwa.

Citing the effect of the global economic crisis, the Bali Tourism Authority recently reduced its target for foreign tourists in 2009 from an initial 2.1 million to a more realistic 1.8 million. Total foreign tourist visitors to Bali in 2008 hit a record 1,968,892.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Facts and Figures on Bali's Life Saving Service

Here are some of the latest facts and figures on swimming and lifesaving in Bali gleaned from a recent article in NusaBali.

• There were 390 near-drowning incidents recorded on all Bali beaches in 2008 with 28 drowning fatalities recorded.

• Popular Kuta Beach remains the most dangerous beach in terms of swimming incidents with 314 near-drownings and 15 fatalities occurring in 2008.

• The Badung Regency and City of Denpasar employ a total of 146 lifesavers working from 19 posts.

• Kuta experienced an increase in incidents in 2008 over 2007 when 277 incidents were reported costing 15 lives.

• The Denpasar Tourism service has complained to the press that there efforts to post certain beaches as "no swim zones" has been thwarted by thieves who quickly steal warning signs installed on the beach.

• The Balinese names for its lifesaving service is ”Baliwista" which is an abbreviation for ”Badan Penyelamat Wisata Tirta” or “The Organization for Water Sports Rescue.”

To the Dalai Lama, With Love

Anand Krishna, an Indonesian inter-faith spiritualist leader and founder of the Bali and Jakarta based Anand Krishna Center flew with 6 members of his organization to Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh in India to present a statue of the Lord Buddha to His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

The 2.5 meter high statue was carved taken from the same stone quarry used in the original construction of the ninth-century Borobudur temple in Central Java. Carved by a Balinese sculptor, the statue will be consecrated by the Dalai Lama and installed in the compound of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (Deemed University), Sarnath, (Uttar Pradesh), India.

Anand Krishna the gift from Indonesia to the Dalai Lama is intended to re-strengthen the spiritual and cultural ties between the peoples of Indonesia and Tibet and extend support to the non-violent struggle to protect the cultural heritage of Tibet. According to Krishna: "Representing the peace loving people of Indonesia, I salute His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for his untiring and relentless efforts in finding peaceful solutions to protect the historical and cultural heritage of Tibet based on tolerance and respect."

A Full Circle Historically

Explaining the deeper connections that exist between Indonesia and the people of Tibet, Krishna continued: "In 1012 A.D., Indian Buddhist monk and scholar Atisha traveled to the Indonesian archipelago and continued his journey to Tibet where he taught the ancient art of Tong-Len meditation which he learnt from an indigenous Indonesian Master, Dharmakirti Svarnadvipi, a name very close to the heart of His Holiness and the people of Tibet." Adding, "By offering this statue from Indonesia to His Holiness, and to be placed on Indian soil – I hope, I pray that the peoples of Tibet, India and Indonesia are united in love, peace and harmony." Further said Anand Krishna.”

Anand Ashram Chairperson, Ms. Maya Safira Muchtar, told the press she regrets that not many Indonesians are aware of the historical bond between the Indonesian Archipelago and Tibet: "It truly is a shame that most modern Indonesians are unaware of the existence of grand masters Atisha and Dharmakirti-Svarnadvipi whose works had significant contribution towards the magnificent cultural and spiritual traditions of Tibet. This humble offering is an attempt to correct this."

Ms. Muchtar considers Anand Krishna' visit to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama as the one of the most significant and historical moments in the histories of Tibet, India and Indonesia, adding: "We all belong to the one and same Indus Valley Civilization, together we can respond wisely and compassionately to the problems faced by our world. Together we can realize our common dream of 'One Earth, One Sky, and One Humankind.'"

Anand Krishna

Anand Krishna has written more than 120 books in the past 10 years, both in English and Indonesian, on various subjects including spirituality and philosophy, Originally from Solo in Central Java, Krishna is also recognized for his many social and humanitarian activities, and the promotion of interfaith understanding and appreciation.

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