Stevie Wonder to perform at Java Jazz Festival

Legendary artist Stevie Wonder is expected to join the lineup at the 2012 Java Jazz Festival.
Peter F. Gontha, an official from the event organizer, said on his Twitter account on Friday that Stevie Wonder had confirmed his appearance at the Festival, reported on Saturday.
Peter said that Wonder would perform on March. 4, along with saxophonist Dave Kozz, the Barry White Show with The Pleasure Unlimited Orchestra and Al Jarreau with the George Duke Trio.
Other international performers are Erykah Badu, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Depapepe, Taylor McFerrin and The Manhattan Transfer.
The festival will also feature some Indonesian artists, including Andien, Barry Likumahuwa, Maliq & D’essentials, Soulvibe and many more.

Ascott announces first Citadines Apart'hotel in Indonesia

The Ascott Limited (Ascott) has announced a new management contract to open in 2014 its first Citadines Apart’hotel in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second city.

The serviced apartment will be named Citadines Marvell Surabaya, located in the Ngagel business district and close to Rungkut - Surabaya’s industrial zone which is part of Marvell City, a new integrated development offering a wealth of entertainment options for business and leisure travellers. In addition to themed restaurants and bars, alfresco dining, a supermarket, cinema and extensive shopping, Marvell City will house commercial towers, educational institutions, ballroom and banqueting facilities.

Citadines Marvell Surabaya will offer 288 stylish studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, each with a fully-equipped kitchen, ensuite bathroom, separate work and sleeping areas and modern conveniences. The 12-storey residence’s facilities will include a swimming pool and residents’ lounge.

Surabaya, located in the south east of Java Island, has a thriving seaport, a successful industrial sector, and is a flourishing city for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions in addition to being a popular tourist destination with a strong domestic travel market.

Ascott is also set to open Citadines Kuta Bali and Citadines Rasuna Jakarta this year, Ascott Kuningan Jakarta in 2013 and in addition to Citadines Marvell Surabaya it will also open Somerset Kencana Jakarta in 2014.

Citadines Marvell Surabaya reinforces Ascott’s position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in Indonesia (2,100+ apartment units across 10 properties) and the world (28,000+ apartment units, including 6,000+ under development, throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Gulf Region).

Once Citadines Marvell Surabaya is open, Ascott will be well placed to tap the growing segment of discerning independent travellers who enjoy the flexibility and extensive services that enable them to create their own unique stay experience.

Mr Alfred Ong, Ascott’s Managing Director for Southeast Asia and Australia, said: “Ascott has built a strong presence in Indonesia since opening its first property in Jakarta in 1995. The country’s resilient economy and increasing foreign direct investment present tremendous opportunities for expansion. The time is right to introduce our Citadines brand in Surabaya.”


British air duty may hinder ASEAN tourism, association says

British air passenger duty (APD), a tax imposed on British air travelers, could threaten ASEAN tourism, an association executive says.
Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) chief executive officer Martin J. Craigs said that British tourists would potentially choose to go elsewhere because they were already taxed up to £85 (US$130.4) each when they traveled anywhere in the Asia-Pacific region.
“If you do the arithmetic very roughly, for a family of four, with two children over two-years-old, that’s over $500 for a British family to leave their own country and holiday in Indonesia or anywhere else in Asia. That’s a very big disincentive for tourism,” Craigs said on Thursday at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Manado, North Sulawesi.
The tax regulation would affect the outbound market, he said, as many British tourists would potentially choose to go to Dubai or Egypt in the Middle East instead of Asia.
“[British tourists] just want to go somewhere to get the sun. They like Asia because there's more attractions here. But if they are being taxed unreasonably, they will naturally choose to go somewhere else because holidays are very price-sensitive,” said Craigs.
“It has been a critical issue for our members,” he added.
APD is imposed through different rates of duty on British air travelers, and is based on geographical distance from London and the class of travel.
For example, British tourists traveling from London to Jakarta, approximately 12,000 kilometers apart, will have to pay £85 each in APD for the lowest class of travel, or £170 each in APD for premium seats, according to HM Revenue & Customs’ official website
Many have criticized APD, which has been portrayed as an environment tax, as hurting tourism and the economies of developing countries.
Despite the fact that British air travelers are already the world's most heavily taxed, the British Chancellor's Autumn statement last November announced an almost 10-percent increase from the existing rate that will come into effect in April this year, the fourth hike in five years.

Nikko Hotel becomes Pullman under Accor

Global hotel group Accor is set to take over management of Central Jakarta’s iconic five-star Hotel Nikko from next week, the French company said on Thursday.

The management change is prompting a new name for the hotel, which will be rebranded as Hotel Pullman Jakarta.

Accor says the hotel will undergo a major redecoration affecting the shape of the hotel, including its rooms, lobby, restaurants, convention rooms as well as ballrooms.

The hotel is currently under the management of Nikko Hotels International, a hotel chain that is part of Japan Air Lines Group, which currently operates 58 properties in Japan and in resort cities worldwide.

After the management change, which comes into effect on Thursday, Hotel Nikko will be Accor’s third Pullman hotel in the country. It currently has one in Central Park, West Jakarta, and another in Bali.

“The rebranding initiative is a breakthrough for Accor in Indonesia. This reflects our commitment to develop an upscale brand by Accor in Indonesia,” said Gerard Guillouet, vice president for Accor Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Accor operates 4,200 hotels worldwide. Its brand include Motel 6, Ibis, Novotel, All Season, Sofitel and Mercure. It now operates 45 hotels in Indonesia.

Government data shows the average hotel occupancy rate in the country last February was 51 percent.

Guillouet in October told Agence France-Presse that the company plans to have 100 hotels by 2015 in Indonesia as part of the company’s plan to open more than 200 new properties in Asia within the next few years.

Jakarta hotels

ASEAN tourism robust despite global slowdown

The prospects for tourism in ASEAN are promising, according to a United Nations official.
“The global economic challenge is difficult. However, Indonesia, like other ASEAN destinations, will not be directly affected by this crisis,” UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) secretary general Taleb Rifai said on Thursday at the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Manado, North Sulawesi.
Rifai said tourist arrivals in the region were up 9 percent in 2011, more than twice the global rate of 4.4 percent and much better than in the Middle East, which saw an 8 percent drop.
“It means that the economic situation didn’t impact the inflow of people and tourism that much," he said.
The middle class in the emerging countries was identified as a good potential market for ASEAN’s tourism sector.
“China’s middle class grew by 50 percent, while Russia’s and Brazil’s middle classes rose by 21 percent and 22 percent, respectively,” Rifai said.
According to the joint statement released by ASEAN tourism ministers, the region attracted 79 million visitors last year, with 43 percent of all international arrivals coming from within the region.

ASEAN to cooperate in advancing cruise tourism

ASEAN's Tourism Ministers have agreed on closer collaboration to advance cruise tourism in the region, at their recent meeting in Manado, Indonesia.

To this end, ASEAN will look at a series of workshops, co-organised with the industry, to share best practices and strengthen collaboration in port infrastructure development, development of regional itineraries and joint marketing.

Details were released by Singapore's Trade and Industry Ministry.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, S Iswaran, who attended the meeting said: "This is a positive development for ASEAN tourism as we work towards a strong regional cruise tourism industry.

"Singapore will work closely with the member states and the industry to organise these workshops in the coming months. Collectively, we can bring out the region's strong diversity and promote greater tourism flows within ASEAN."

The meetings noted that a key enabler in advancing cruise tourism in ASEAN is to develop adequate port infrastructure to accommodate more cruise ships.

ASEAN countries can also work together to develop regional cruise itineraries and share experience in enhancing shore-side attractions and amenities at the various destinations.

The Ministry added that the opening of Singapore's International Cruise Terminal (ICT) this year will support ASEAN's goal to be an exciting cruise region.

The terminal will double berth capacity and allow Singapore to cater to the world's largest ships.

Speaking in support of ASEAN's direction, Mr Michael Bayley, executive vice president of International of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, said: "The ASEAN region enjoys many innate favourable factors for cruise development such as the huge population base and growing affluence that will drive demand for travel.

"Together with the more active developments in the cruise infrastructure here recently, ASEAN's cruise industry is now poised to grow beyond its infancy stage and in the long run, to make the region the next exotic cruise paradise of the East."

Indonesia grounds Lion Air pilots for getting high

Indonesia's Transportation Ministry says it has penalised pilots and crew members of budget carrier Lion Air who were arrested for drug possession in recent months.

'We have given warnings to the airline and revoked licences for the pilots and crew members,' the ministry's air transportation director general Herry Bhakti Gumay told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Last week, a Lion Air pilot, identified as 'A' was caught with crystal methamphetamine in his possession in a karaoke bar in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Late last year, another Lion Air pilot Muhammad Nasri and two co-pilots were arrested at a drug party in Tangerang, Banten.

Villa Kishi Kishi

Situated in the midst of coconut grove in Saba Beach area, halfway between Ubud and the Sanur, Villa Kishi-Kishi is within easy walking distance to Saba Beach and Saba Stable as well as having easy access to various tourism attraction and facilities in Ubud and Sanur area. Villa Kishi-Kishi offers a serene and quiet sanctuary for honeymooners; romantic couple, healing and rest retreat, especiallyfor those who are visiting Bali for rest and healing retreat, Villa Kishi-Kishi, in its yoga pavilion, offers yoga and reiki healing treatment as well as free consultation by Mr. Ida Bagus Putu Wijaya, an experienced test-and proven healer as well as the manager of this Ubud villa.

This Ubud villa is designed in Balinese traditional compound style with charming garden view and offers 4 one-bedroom villas with spacious bedroom decorated with Balinese painting and furnished with four-post king size bed complete with mosquito net, AC, wardrobe, TV with satellite channel, mini bar, bedside table and mirror, also available in the bedroom: free 2 bottle of mineral water daily and basket of fruit upon arrival; bathroom with bathtub, outdoor shower, washbasin and toilet as well as towel and bathroom amenities and large terrace with daybed, two chairs and table. Two villas are also equipped with Jacuzzi.

Villa Kishi-Kishi also provides facilities and services including a 4m x 9m swimming pool amidst lush garden, healing pavilion, gazebo in the garden, 24 hour receptionist and room service, safe deposit box, Wi Fi, in-villa massage, luggage storage, lobby lounge, car park, facsimile, medical service, hotel/airport transfer, cots/cribs, high chairs and baby-sitting service.

Running From Bali to Jakarta — for Charity

Be wary of those who put why they do what they do into words. People who go on endlessly about doing the “right thing” typically have no idea what they’re talking about. They’ve spent far too much time honing and defining their ambitions to allow their actions — not their intentions — to back up their words.

The fact that Scott Thompson can’t really articulate why he’s running 1,250 kilometers from Bali to Jakarta to raise money and awareness for both a cancer foundation and a youth development charity is reason enough to get behind him and his March mega marathon.

Thompson is silver-tongued and smiling when it comes to talking about how he came up with the idea for the run, his 100-kilometers-a-week regime and how he’ll have to don running shoes two to three sizes bigger than normal to contend with the swelling he’ll endure for 25 days come his March 8 D-Day.

But when asked why he’s running from Bali to Jakarta, Thompson can’t seem to find the words. “It’s like if you ask someone why they want to climb a mountain,” Thompson says in his light Scottish accent. “Because it’s there. Some people say trying to raise this money is just a drop in the ocean, but we’re going to create a little ripple and see where it takes us.”


North Sulawesi targets 100,000 tourist arrivals in 2012

North Sulawesi Governor Sinyo H. Sarundajang says that the province has targeted to receive 100,000 tourists this year, up from 40,000 in 2011.
“I hope North Sulawesi can contribute up to 100,000 tourists of the 8 million tourists targeted nationally in 2012, with a foreign to domestic ratio of 1:1,” Sarundajang told reporters on Tuesday on the sidelines of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in the provincial capital of Manado.
Sarundajang pointed out that the tourism industry had contributed 15 percent to the province’s locally generated revenue (PAD) worth Rp 600 million (US$65,430) in 2011.
He said he hoped that the tourism industry’s contribution to the province’s PAD would increase to 30 percent this year.
Sarundajang cited maritime tourism as North Sulawesi’s main attraction.
“Bunaken, named one of the best sea gardens in the world, has been and still is North Sulawesi’s tourism icon. But we of course offer many other wonderful objects,” he said.
The governor cited the province’s various mountains, culture, culinary and religious sites among its tourist attractions.
Sarundajang said that the province had also targeted to become one of the world’s meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) destinations, citing its success in hosting several international events, including the World Ocean Conference and Sail Bunaken in 2009.
“The ATF can help us reveal North Sulawesi’s beauty to the global community, which hopefully can help us to reach our target,” he said.
The ASEAN Tourism Forum is taking place from Jan. 8 to Jan. 15 at the Grand Kawanua Convention Center in Manado.
The forum is attended by ASEAN and its partner countries’ tourism ministers and thousands of businesspeople from the tourism industry.
The province is home to more than 2.2 million residents.

Singapore Minister Iswaran to attend ASEAN Tourism Meeting in Manado

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, Mr S. Iswaran, will make a two-day visit to Manado, Indonesia, from Wednesday for the ASEAN Tourism Ministers' Meeting.

Held annually, the meeting reviews ASEAN's progress in regional tourism cooperation.

Tourism ministers will assess the group's performance and the progress of various work streams under the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (2011-2015), which charts the sector's medium-term direction.

Mr Iswaran will be accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, as well as the Singapore Tourism Board.

Bali Targeting 3 Million Foreign Tourists in 2012

Bali’s Tourism Stakeholders Bullish that Foreign Tourism will Grow by about 10% in 2012

(1/9/2012) The Jakarta Post reports that leading tourism-stakeholders in Bali are targeting 3 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2012.

Once the final count is done for 2011, total foreign arrivals will come in at something more than 2.7 million, meaning that despite an uncertain world economy Bali is seeking 10% growth in arrivals for the coming year.

Australians continue to be the main source of foreign visitors, constituting nearly 30% of all foreign arrivals. China has the next largest market share at 9% with Japan, once the main source of tourists from abroad, is down to 7%.

Ida Bagus Kade Subhisku, chief of the Bali Tourism Agency, said he felt it was likely that total arrivals for 2011 would top 2.73 million. Pointing to Bali’s success at hosting major conferences and visits by world leaders in 2011, Subhisku discounted the possibility that European economic woes would have a significant negative impact on Bali’s arrival in the year ahead.

Echoing Subhisku’s optimism was Djinaldi Gosana, executive director of the Bali Hotels Association (BHA) and Ida Bagus Gede Sidharta Putra of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association. Djinaldi said occupancy and four and five star hotels in Bali exceeded 60% in 2011. Putra said his association’s members remained confident that arrivals would continue to be strong.

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Karimunjawa: Java’s One-and-Only Island Paradise

It took me 16 years of living in the country, travelling far and wide throughout the archipelago, before I finally got my act together and made it to Java’s very own island paradise.

The Karimunjawa – the 27 islands that make up the island group — are located about 90 kilometers north of Jepara, off the Central Java coast, and about three hours by direct fast boat from the provincial capital Semarang.

Until now something of a backwater, improving transportation connections are slowly making the islands, which were declared a national marine park in 1999, more accessible to visitors. The result is that more people are coming from farther afield to visit this island paradise.

My hotel manager informed me there had been a 200 percent increase in the number of visitors during 2011 compared with the previous year. That’s a sign of success, and yet it also poses something of a problem for the limited accommodation options on the main island during the peak season from May to October.

Karimunjawa Islands are not the easiest of places to visit, which has helped to preserve their special character and natural environment. Things are improving, but at present there are these main options to get there:

•On Monday, Wednesday and Saturday a ferry — the Murni — leaves from Jepara at 9 a.m., and returns from Karimunjawa at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The trip usually takes seven hours. It’s worth checking the timetable on the internet because it can change at the last minute. And beware: the ferry stops running for a month of maintenance in November, which meant that I ended up having to snuggle up on a local kapal barang (the cargo boat).

•The fast boat, called the Kartini, leaves from Semarang port on Monday at 9 a.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m., and returns from Karimunjawa at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Booking tickets directly with the Dinas office of the Transportation Ministry office is problematic (0291 591048), unless you use an agent. The direct trip takes about three hours, while fast boat trips via Jepara (the Monday/Tuesday trip) take a total of four hours.

•The three main small hotels are: Hotel Escape, Blue Laguna Inn and the Karimunjawa Inn and charge between Rp 180,000 and Rp 250,000. The Nirvana Hotel is more expensive, the suite costs Rp 1.7 million a night. There are numerous cheaper home stays both in Karimunjawa town and also in some of the villages on the two main islands, Karimunjawa and Kemujan. These range from very good, some with AC, to rough and ready, without as much as a fan.

•Boats for day trips and motorbikes are easy to arrange through hotels and home stays as is the renting of snorkelling gear and diving equipment. The best time to come is from April to October. The weather is more unpredictable from November, and can be stormy and very wet in January and February.

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