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May 08, 2012

BHA Security efforts have finally paid off

Security efforts have finally paid off, says Bali Hotels Association
 May 8, 2012, Bali

The Australian government has downgraded its travel advisory to Bali for the first time since 2002. The move is wholeheartedly welcomed by the Bali Hotels Association (BHA), which has been actively campaigning for such a move for many years.
 Previously, the Australian government advised its citizens to “reconsider the need to travel.” It is now advising them to “exercise a high degree of caution,” putting the island at the same level as Thailand and the Philippines.
 “This is a positive development based on a carefully considered assessment of the level of threat to Australian travelers in Indonesia,” said Australian ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, quoted by the country’s national news agency, Antara.
 Meanwhile, BHA chairman Jean-Charles Le Coz said: “I'm happy that our efforts in maintaining safety and security have been recognized internationally, especially by our biggest market.”
 He cited specific efforts to assist with security that have been pursued by BHA. These included its 2011 workshops to train staff at its more-than-100 member hotels on surveillance detection, as well as founding the Integrated Police Radio Community Bali program that connects BHA members and other tourism stakeholders directly to the police via UHF radio. BHA also held workshops on counter terrorism, disaster risk reduction, and health issues.
 Australia leads the pack in inbound travel to Bali, with a market share of more than 26%. Meanwhile, arrivals in March 2012 saw a 24% year-on-year increase over March 2011. The renewed confidence in the island’s security is sure to boost this already-stellar performance on both leisure and MICE business, said Le Coz.
 “Many Australians view Bali as their home away from home. We look forward to welcoming more to our shores this year,” he said.

About BHA
Bali Hotels Association is a professional group of star-rated hotels and resorts in Bali. Members include general managers from more than 100 hotels and resorts in Bali, representing more than 15,000 hotel rooms and almost 30,000 employees in the tourism sector.
 One of the objectives of BHA is to support and facilitate the development of communities, education, and the environment in Bali. The BHA has initiated many projects involving association members as well as other tourism industry stakeholders.
 BHA’s vision is to keep Bali as the most desirable tourism destination in Asia through the warmth and hospitality of its people. The mission is to bring together general managers of major hotels and resorts, and in a non-competitive environment, to exchange information on matters of general interest, to have a common voice on issues pertaining to the tourism and hospitality industries in support of Bali as a destination. BHA also supports and facilitates the development of the Balinese community, as well as educational and environmental initiatives in Bali.
 For more about Bali Hotels Association, visit
For more about Bali Is My Life, visit, join, or follow our tweet: BaliIsMyLife
 For further information, contact:
Jean-Charles Le Coz
Chairman of Bali Hotels Association

Australians treat Bali as a second home 

By Rebecca Boteler

Australians have long had a love affair with Bali and it's continuing to flourish with Aussie visitor numbers up 25 per cent in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.
The figures from Bali's Central Statistics Agency show that 348,489 Australians packed their bags and headed for Bali in the six months to June.
The Agency's head I Gede Suarsa told local papers that many Australians 'see Bali as a second home'.
While that may be the case, the relationship between the two places seems to be going through a bit of a rocky patch with a number of unrelated events threatening to undermine it.
The well publicised arrest of the 14-year-old boy on drug charges has apparently so incensed some Australians they've cancelled their trips to Bali.
The brawl involving former Eagles coach Dean Laidley and some Balinese nightclub staff has led to a lot of finger pointing over who started it. 

And, then there's the nurse from New South Wales, reportedly without travel insurance, who suffered alcohol poisoning in Lombok which was so severe she had to be shipped home to a hospital in Australia at great expense.


Curtin University Professor of Cultural Studies, Jon Stratton, says while many Australians may indeed regard Bali as their second home, some people seem to overlook the fact that it has different laws, traditions and health standards.
"When things go well being in Bali is great but when something goes wrong, things can get very difficult and, indeed, very expensive," he said.
It's easy to see why many people forget that parts of Bali aren't simply an extension of Australia.
Places like Kuta and Seminyak have been so westernised to cater to tourists, there's not a lot these days that's actually Balinese about them.
Professor Stratton says this means people can go on holiday without having to step out of their comfort zone; they don't have to learn the language, observe Balinese traditions or even eat the local food.
"Many people don't want to go somewhere that they feel is very strange and foreign," he said.
"They want the nuance of the exotic but they also want the comforts of home."
Professor Stratton says that for some, the more comfortable they feel, the less likely they are to take precautions.
"People tend to forget that they need medical insurance, that the legal system is totally different from Australia's, and that no matter how welcoming the Balinese are, Australians always remain foreigners in Bali," he said.

Leaving manners behind

While the string of recent incidents may have grabbed the headlines, there's a trend which has been undermining the relationship for a while; the small number of Australians who use a holiday in Bali as an excuse to leave their manners at home.
Ross Taylor is the head of the WA-based Indonesia Institute which promotes good relations between the two nations.
He says while most Australians are well behaved when holidaying in Bali, others see it simply as a chance to let loose.
"Unfortunately, some people and, in particular, school leavers see Bali as a place where they can go wild, get drunk, take drugs and generally carry-on in a loud and belligerent manner," he said.
A night out in Kuta can become an exercise in witnessing Australians behaving badly.
As an expat who lives in Bali for the majority of the year, it's often an embarrassment to me that travellers from other parts of the world believe this is how Australians usually behave.
I've witnessed Australians brawling in nightclubs, urinating in the streets and generally trampling all over the Balinese culture.
While a night out in Northbridge can yield pretty much the same results, the fact that people are on holiday seems to exacerbate their behaviour.
To be fair, we're not the only ones who forget to pack our manners when we go on holiday.
On a trip to Ibiza, I had front row tickets to see Britons behaving badly and anyone who's been to Mexico will tell you that some Americans aren't exactly on their best behaviour there, either.
Professor Stratton says the phenomenon of travellers generally acting like untamed animals is so common, it actually has a name.
"People who study tourist behaviour have developed the idea of the 'pleasure periphery' which refers to the places to which holidaymakers travel which is far enough away from home psychologically for them to be able to behave in ways they wouldn't at home," he said.
"Bali is a pleasure periphery for Australians; a place where they feel they can just do what they like and won't pay any consequences and what they do won't reach their parents, partner or workmates back home."


The impact badly behaved Australians are having in Bali is not going unnoticed.
It's just that the Balinese don't make a big fuss about it because as Ross Taylor points out, they need Australians and their tourist dollars.
"The Balinese know that Australia is to Bali what China is to Australia," he said.
"Aussies bring huge money into the Balinese economy and that creates jobs and wealth."
While tourism can have its benefits in raising the living standards of the local population, it can also have some downsides.
For one, Bali is groaning under the weight of an ever growing population with seemingly little forward planning for infrastructure.
A recent article in the Times magazine went so far as to dub it a 'holiday from hell' citing its overcrowded roads, sewerage problems and waste management issues.
The Jakarta Post newspaper pointed the finger at tourists.
According to the article, Australians are the ones clogging up the roads, using all the water and littering the streets and beaches.
While this may be drawing a long bow, could it be an indication the previously good relationship is heading for the rocks?
While there may be an underlying resentment at the way they're treated, it's not part of the Balinese culture to voice complaints; in fact, the Balinese will go to great lengths to avoid confrontation, even in the face of rudeness and abuse.
"The fact that the Balinese are very polite people who rarely will complain, doesn't mean that they are not offended by such behaviours," says Ross Taylor.
But, Mr Taylor believes despite its problems, the relationship will survive.
"Whilst Aussies do at times behave badly, we are pretty easy-going as a race," he
"That shouldn't mean we should not be trying to conduct ourselves with a greater degree of respect for our friends in Bali."
And, like any relationship, a bit of communication and understanding goes a long way. 

Source : ABCnews