Japanese dominate 2007 tourist arrivals in Bali

Japanese topped the list of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia`s resort island of Bali in 2007, reaching 351,752 persons, or about 21.11 percent of the total number of foreign tourist arrivals (1,666,079), a local official said.

Head of Denpasar`s statistics bureau Ida Komang Wisno said here on Saturday Australian tourist arrivals came second on the list with their number recorded at 204,811 or about 12.29 percent. Next were tourists from Taiwan who accounted for 138,859 or about 8.33 percent of the total.

Compared with the previous year, when the figure was 1,262,537, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in 2007 had increased 31.96 percent.

He said the occupancy rate of hotels in Bali in 2007 was recorded at 60.58 percent, while foreign tourists` length of stay averaged 3.34 days.

Earlier: Bali's January 2008 Arrivals Burst Out of the Star...

Indonesia International Travel Fair 2008 to target buyers and consumers

With the theme 'Plan Your Holidays Ahead', the Indonesia International Travel Fair 2008, one of the key events in Visit Indonesia Year (VIY 2008), will be held on March 27-30 at the Balai Kartini Expo, located in the heart of Jakarta.

IITF 2008 is a one-day B2B and a three-day consumer show where visitors can purchase domestic and international travel packages at special prices.

Panca R. Sarungu, project director IITF 2008, said, "We want to educate the public to get information for their holidays and at the same time to start their planning earlier."

Target visitors are 30.000 from Jakarta and nearby areas.

"Malaysia has the MATTA Fair and Singapore has NATAS, both held twice a year, so we should also have a yearly event as well," said Paula Purba, regional sales director, Aston International, a participant at the event.

She added, "The opportunity for hard selling or direct selling to consumers during this event will enable us to observe and analyse the market behaviour, especially in the leisure market."

NTOs from Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia have confirmed their participation to target the Indonesian market.

The private sector initiative is jointly organized by PT. Prakarsa Sinergi Utama and RajaMICE.com.

It is supported by ASTINDO (Indonesian Ticket Sellers Association), ASITA Jakarta (Indonesia Travel Agents Association – Jakarta Chapter), Indonesian Tourism Council and Jakarta Tourism Board.

To support VIY 2008, the organisers have invited 50 foreign buyers from ASEAN countries in the hosted programme which has the support of the hotels in Jakarta who will be providing accommodation facilities, and local and international airlines who will be giving special discounts.

More information: Panca R Sarungu, Project Director
Mobile : +62817 817 846

Cap Go Meh in Singkawang

Cap Go Meh is the 15th day in the Chinese Lunar Year, the first full moon of the year. This year it falls on February 21st.
In China it is also known as the Lantern festival. In South-East Asia, Cap Go Meh is sometimes called the Chinese Valentine Day, because it is a day when young unmarried women gather to toss tangerines into the sea, in a hope that their future spouse will pick it up.

Here are some clips from Youtube on Cap Go Meh in Singkawang, West Kalimantan (2007) by PrimaProduction:

More Clips:
More informationon Cap Go Meh: Wikipedia

Indonesia's Wongso unearths culinary treasures

Whether he's serving slow-cooked chicken or marinated soybean, Indonesian chef William Wongso sees spicing up his dishes with unusual local ingredients as key to his mission to promote the archipelago's diverse cuisine.

Choosing recipes from his grandmother's time, such as tempeh, or soybean cake, fermented in garlic and salt until it turns black, the 61-year-old chef introduces new twists to the old on his popular television cooking show "Cooking Adventure with William Wongso".

The owner of three top restaurants, such as the showpiece, appointment-only, William's Kafe Artistik in Jakarta, where businessmen woo clients with foie gras egg curd and tiny chocolate pianos, Wongso recently opened an innovative "infused noodle" shop, Mie Item, which sells black squid ink noodles.

Here he talks to Reuters Life! about Indonesia's varied cuisine and why specialities from across the archipelago deserve a greater appreciation.

Q: You've said that enlightening foreigners about the diversity of flavours in Indonesian cooking is one of your long-term goals. Do you think visitors to Indonesia typically get a good introduction to Indonesia cuisine?

A: "All they know is nasi goreng (fried rice), satay and maybe rendang (slow-cooked beef curry). With 17,000 islands and 600 dialects, there's so much more."


Udjo`s Angklung Studio to hold 15 concerts abroad

Udjo`s Angklung Studio has set itself the target of holding 15 concerts abroad this year.

"The opening concerts will be held in March - April in Turkey, South Africa and Rome (Italy)," the studio`s head, Taufik Hidayat Udjo, said on Tuesday.

He said foreigners` interest in music produced by the bamboo musical instrument had remained high.

His studio, he added, had also prepared thousands of angklungs to support the concerts.

The studio is one of Bandung`s popular musical art venues for both local and foreign tourists.

In the studio, he added, people can learn how to play angklung, watch the production process of the bamboo musical instrument and buy souvenirs.

The studio also runs a "home stay" program for people wishing to learn angklung and other Sundanese arts.

The Foreign Ministry was also providing scholarships for people from Asia Pacific countries to learn angklung at Udjo`s Angklung Studio.

Bali's January 2008 Arrivals Burst Out of the Starting Gate

Bali by the Numbers: Preliminary Arrival Figures Indicate a Very Strong Start for 2008.

Bali News: Bali's January 2008 Arrivals Burst Out of the Starting Gate.
(2/10/2008) The National News Agency Antara reports that 154,000 foreign tourists visited Bali in January 2008.

While these figures remain preliminary until confirmed by yet-to-be-received official figures from Bali's immigration office, the 154,000 tally suggests a record-breaking start to 2008, exceeding arrival totals for January 2007 (109,504) by a whopping +40.63%.

As reported on balidiscovery.com [See: Bali's Year for the Record Books] Bali ended 2007 as the "best year ever" for foreign tourist arrivals with a cumulative total of 1,664,854 - a dramatic +32.1% increase over total arrivals for 2006 (1,260,317).

Bullish that Bali tourism will continue to grow apace, Bali tourism officials are targeting 1.9 million foreign arrivals for 2008 – an improvement of +14.12% over 2007.

The next installment of Bali by the Numbers will review the official arrival figures for January, expected shortly from officials at Bali's airport.

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to http://www.balidiscovery.com. All images and graphics are copyright protected.

Turangalîla Symphony, Royal Festival Hall, London

Visitors to the Southbank Centre for the latest concert in its year-long Messiaen festival were transported briefly to Indonesia: as they arrived for a performance of the composer's colossal Turangalîla Symphony, they were met by the sounds of Javanese gamelan, performed by the centre's own ensemble.

The sensual, hypnotic pulse of that music undeniably infiltrates Messiaen's first big orchestral work - commissioned by conductor Serge Koussevitzky in 1945 and first performed four years later - but what is striking about the work is its ebullient eclecticism, its cheerful plundering of sources as disparate as Stravinsky and Mussorgsky, Indian rhythms and modes, even jazz.

Turangalîla (the name derives from Sanskrit, and can loosely be translated as "love song") is also an encyclopaedia of instrumental effects. Part piano concerto, part essay in orchestration, coloured throughout with the eerie whoops and cries of the ondes Martenot, Turangalîla is a challenging piece to pull off, unpredictable in its mood and sometimes uncontrollably volatile.

Full article

The future for shadow theatre may just lie in a merging of East and West.

The shadows that breathe.

What kind of a world would it be like if there were no shadows? Without shadows, children will no longer have fun playing with light and silhouettes; there would no longer be contrast between light and dark in paintings and cinematography; there would be no difference between standing under a big tree or being out in a field; the colours of the ocean and the sky will seem like plastic, and the fun of seeing how time changes in one location would definitely be dull. In reality, the lack of shadow eventually means the lack of light. Without shadow, our perception would become altered and our emotions parched.

Although our bodies cast unique shadows that intimately accompany our lives, shadows have often been culturally associated with the space between life and death, for example, many ghostly appearances have been referred to as shadows. Nevertheless, many countries in Asia have turned the mysterious quality of shadows into a part of their performing art traditions, such as the Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet theatre) of Indonesia, Pi Ying Xi of China and Nang Yai of Thailand. While the ancient art of traditional shadow theatre is diminishing at an alarming rate, many experiments and efforts have been used by artists all over the world in order to preserve a place for the special art to live on.

Racing with the rapid change in the world filled with modern entertainment, including the fight for the audience's familiarity and acceptance of the shadow theatre, Larry Reed (a US shadow theatre artist based in San Francisco) and I Nyoman Sumandhi (a Balinese shadow-theatre master or dalang) have spent most of their lives trying to preserve the art of the shadow theatre. They have a friendship that started in 1974 when Reed first met Sumandhi, who at the time was teaching a gamelan (musical ensemble of Indonesia typically featuring percussion instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs) class offered by the the University of Washington. After that summer, Reed continued to pursue his studies with Sumandhi's father, I Nyoman Rajeg, who was a master dalang in Bali. He discovered that a dalang is the sole performer in the tradition. Accompanied by the gamelan ensemble, the dalang conducts the ritual ceremony, narrates the story, sings, improvises dialogue and manipulates all the puppets, while giving cues to the musicians. Hence, a dalang's art encompassed many qualities and talents.

Full article

Indonesia to hold fashion show in China

The Indonesian Embassy here will hold a fashion show in Beijing and Shanghai next April to promote the Indonesian traditional wardrobe, including batik, to the Chinese people.

"We will invite several provinces to organize the fashion show next April," Head of the Socio-culture Section of the Embassy Rosmalawati Chalid said on Saturday.

She said such traditional attire as batik should not only be seen as a commercial product but as an original Indonesian art work.

The embassy, she said, would also hold an Indonesian Week in Wangfujing, the most popular shopping center in Beijing, as an effort to attract more Chinese tourists to come to Indonesia.

The Indonesian Week is slated to be held next September, after the organization of the 2008 Olympic Games, she added.

"We actually want to hold it a week in August, in conjunction with the organization of the Olympic Games, but the local government does not allow any event to be held during the sports festivity and we then rescheduled it," she added.

Tribal Music Tours: Bali Temples

Witness a once-a-century religious ceremony centered on an open-air temple in the village of Pejang. The two-day event includes music, feasting, dancing and elaborate costumes. Tour-goers can take part in mini-workshops that illuminate local customs and demonstrate gamelan music, the trance dance and more.

Christine Stevens (author of "The Healing Drum Kit") will travel with the group and is among workshop speakers. The 11-day tour also includes guided walks to waterfalls and caves, shopping jaunts to bazaars and artisans' villages and a catamaran snorkeling trip.

Info: Tribal Music Tours Inc.; (626) 799-4795, www.tribalmusictours.com.

Dates: May 31 to June 11