Bali Popular for Cruise Ships
Seven Seas Explorer – a cruise ship operated by Regent Seven Seas Cruises, paid a port call to the North Bali Port of Celukan Bawang in Buleleng Regency on Tuesday, 14 February 2023. This ship was the second cruise ship to visit Celukan Bawang in February, following an earlier visit on 03 February by the 170-passenger MS Ocean Odyssey operated by Vantage Cruise Lines.
As reported by Kompas.com, the Seven Seas Explorer weighs 55,524 gross tons with an overall length of 225 meters. The ship carried 647 passengers served by a crew of 530.
Traditional Balinese dancers welcomed the ship’s passengers with floral tributes presented on the port’s dock.
The Head of Tourism Services for the Regency of Buleleng, Gede Dody Sukma Oktiva Askara, said the passengers of the Seven Seas Explorer visited many North Bali tourism objects, including The Banjar Hot Springs, Vihara Arama Banjar, the Chinese temple Klenteng Ling Gwen Kiong, the Pura Beji Desa Sangsit temple, the war monument at Desa Jagaragam, and the Anyar market.
Commenting further on the cruise ship visit, Askara said that 410 passengers from the ship undertook tours offered by a local agent while 100 other passengers went on independent tour excursions. The tourism official said the Port of Celukan Bawang was becoming increasingly popular as a cruise ship port-of-call, with more ship visits scheduled for the remainder of February.
In the early decades of the 1900s, Dutch passenger ships used Celukan Bawang exclusively as their port-of-call, with passengers traveling by car to Denpasar and other parts of the Island’s south.
The Selling & Buying of Heads in Bali
With the ongoing return of Mainland Chinese Tourists to Bali and the rest of Indonesia, the insidious problem of selling off booked tourists, termed in Indonesian as the purchase and sale of foreign tourist heads (jual-beli kepala), is once again rearing its ugly head.
The Provincial Secretary of Bali, Dewa Made Indra, told Tribun-Bali.com that the re-emergence of jual-beli kepala represents an unjust and unfair condition threatening the Island’s tourism industry because it only profits one party to a double or multi-party transaction.
Jual-beli kepala happens when disreputable and unethical overseas agents serving the PRC market offer travel bookings in Bali at rates that are non-sustainable and often insufficient to cover the actual cost of the parts of the travel package. Those purchasing and manipulating these “booked travel packages” do so due to an urgent need for cash flow.
To recoup resulting cash shortfalls, the local agent often rearranges the tour components into cheaper elements and then compels visitors to only shop and eat at establishments offering enormous commission levels. The good purchased and the food eaten by the hapless Chinese visitors may need to be revised, with the commissions making all the difference for the unethical local operator. (Main Article: Bali Popular)
On Wednesday, 22 February 2023, Dewa Made Indra said: “Competition between travel industry members is a normal part of the business environment. But, in the end, a business must be fair and profitable to all concerned and not seek to inflict damage on either the buyer or seller.”
Indra said the Province desires Indonesia to sell and promote quality tourism that benefits the people’s economy in Bali. The problem of “jual-beli kepala” disappeared during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the lack of Chinese tourists. Indra added: “Now the problem has returned. But this development should not be allowed to develop and grow an ‘ecosystem’ that is not conducive to Bali tourism.”
Following a meeting to discuss preparations for the expected onslaught of Chinese tourists to Bali, the Deputy-Governor of Bali, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati (“Cok Ace“), warned that the overall Chinese market to Bali is wrongly seen as a mass market dominating Bali’s tourism arrivals. “So,” Cok Ace added, “we have to prepare everything, from the regulatory point of view to other supports, so that the visitor targets set by the central and regional governments can be realized.”
The Indonesian Guide Association in Bali (HPI-Bali) has joined the lively discussion on “jual – beli kepala.” The Chairman of HPI-Bali, I Nyoman Nuarta, complained that the practice has existed since long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, HPI is joining efforts to find a solution to prevent this practice in 2023 and beyond. (Main Article: Bali Popular)
The Governor has instructed the Head of Tourism for Bali to convene a gathering of representatives of the Mandarin market and various other stockholders. On 21 February, a discussion group discussed how to find a solution to buying and selling heads in the Chinese market.
The government urges all tourism stakeholder organizations, including HPI and the Indonesian Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel agents (ASITA), to avoid involvement in unethical practices aimed at Chinese market travelers.
Those found to be involved in such practices are threatened with possible closure and cancellation of operating licenses.
Nuarta, the chairman of HPI, said enforcement teams would be positioned to supervise the services provided to Chinese travelers to prevent “jual-beli kepala practices” to safeguard the reputation of the Island of Bali.
HPI reports that their organization has 200 Chinse-language licensed guides to serve the coming surge of Mainland Chinese visitors.
Should the number of Mandarin-speaking guides prove insufficient, HPI has English-speaking guides in reserve to accompany and provide translation services for Chinese-speaking group leaders traveling from the PRC with groups.
While Mainland Chinese tourists are returning to Bali, the total number is limited by the current carrying capacity of charter flights. Once regularly scheduled flights between China and Bali resume, the number of PRC visitors is expected to surge dramatically. (Main Article: Bali Popular)
Police End 2-Week Traffic Safety Campaign
The Public Relations Spokesperson for the Denpasar Police, I Ketut Sukadi, confirmed on Monday, 20 February 2023, that hundreds of motorcyclists and four-wheeled vehicle drivers were ticketed or given verbal warnings during the coordinated operation. The State News Agency Antara reported that 944 drivers were verbally reprimanded, while 357 were ticketed.
The reprimands, tickets, and electronic citations exceeded the targeted totals for “Operasi Keselamatan Agung 2023.” Police targeted 70 electronic moving violations, exceeding that total by 249%, with 244 ELTE citations issued. Meanwhile, the target for verbal reprimands (560) was exceeded by 68%, with 944 roadside scoldings administered. A written traffic ticket target of 225 was surpassed by 59%, with 357 tickets issued. (Main Article: Bali Popular)
Commenting on the traffic safety campaign results, Sukadi said: “Our operational targets have been exceeded. Our overall goal was to create a traffic situation that is safe, orderly, and flowing smoothly in areas of Denpasar that are prone to traffic jams, accidents, and moving violations. At the same time, we want to educate drivers on roadway regulations.”
Sukadi reminded the public that although “Operasi Keselamatan Agung 2023” ended on Monday, 20 February 2023, the last day of the safety campaign, the public would be mistaken to think officials are no longer on guard to enforce traffic rules.
The police officer urged the public to remain vigilant and disciplined in following traffic laws. “Operasi Keselamatan Agung 2023” ran 14 days from 07 February to 20 February 2023. (Main Article: Bali Popular)
Bali Officials Promise To Make Kuta Beach A More Relaxed Experience For Tourists
Community leaders at Bali’s world-famous Kuta Beach have confirmed that they will continue to go above and beyond to ensure tourists have a relaxed experience at the seaside. Kuta Traditional Village has announced that they will work to eliminate aggressive and pushy hawkers on the beach. They have told reporters how this kind of ‘assertiveness’ is not acceptable.
Kuta Beach is one of Bali’s most famous and still one of the most popular holiday destinations on the island. With a vast expanse of white sand, plenty of restaurants, and all the major hotel brands in one place, it is easy to see why Kuta is the mainstay of Bali’s tourism offering. (Main Article: Bali Popular)
The Head of Kuta Traditional Village, I Wayan Wasista, has told reporters. “Indeed, actions like this are an obstacle. So, we have also thought about it by making a kind of special rule.” He said that the new rules would be put in place to stop tourists from feeling uncomfortable when they are approached by hawkers if they just want to chill out on the beach. (Main Article: Bali Popular)
He has suggested that there will be a special agreement that traders must sign to confirm that they will not try pushy sales tactics on tourists hanging out on the beach. It has previously been suggested that Kuta Traditional Village will create permanent stalls for the hawkers to create small stops and stalls so that tourists can browse the beach market at their leisure.
This would be a win-win situation for all. Tourists would be able to enjoy Kuta Beach fuss-free, and hawkers can kiss the hustle goodbye and engage in a more positive style of business. (Main Article: Bali Popular)
Tourists Urged To Keep Close Eye On Luggage
Tourists arriving in Bali are being warned to keep an extra close eye on their baggage after two Algerian men were arrested for theft at the airport. Police and security forces in Bali operate around-the-clock surveillance at Bali Airport, and it is considered safe. Airport arrival areas all around the world sadly naturally attract opportunistic thieves.
The two men, known by their initials RAAR, 53, and AHB, 29, were arrested by police at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport at 1 am on Saturday 4th, March. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
The duo was operating in the area late on Friday 3rd, March. They wandered around the arrivals area, appearing to look at information signage, ticket offices, and tourist counters.
It is now known that the pair stole bags belonging to three different individuals. The first bag they stole belonged to 34-year-old Dinda Karin, who is from East Java. Karin arrived in Bali on a flight from Dubai over the weekend. He is reported to have left his luggage at the Grab pick-up point while he used the bathroom, only to return moments later to find his luggage gone. Svitoslav S. Fomenki, 20, from Russia, and Leila Simone, 19, from the USA, also reported their luggage stolen on Saturday night.
Witnesses told reporters, “He [Karin] had searched into the international arrival terminal but was not found. Then it was reported to the Airport Police at that time, around 23:30…The victims do not know each other. After receiving the report, members immediately coordinated with the security of Ngurah Rai Airport.”
Security officials then checked CCTV and quickly identified the two men at work. Police were immediately deployed and arrested the men who were still in the vicinity of the airport. The Head of the Criminal Investigation Unit of Air Area Police I Gusti Ngurah Rai, Iptu Rionson Ritonga, has since confirmed that the pair have admitted to the theft and told police that they did so as they could not afford ‘the necessities of life.”
The news of opportunistic thieves at Bali Airpot comes just a month after a porter was arrested for stealing IDR 5 million (USD 332) in cash from a tourist’s bag. Police announced the arrest of the man known by his initials KA on the 5th of February. He is known to have been caught snatching cash on the 26th of January.
KA was caught in the act by a fellow, honorable porter. When the other airport porter spotted KA pocketing the cash, he immediately reported the crime to his superiors. The police were called, and KA was tracked down, having his lunch in the corner of the airport. The IDR 5 million in cash was found on his person, and he was swiftly arrested and charged with theft. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
While the incidence of theft at Bali Airport is rare and quickly acted upon by authorities, it’s still not unheard of. Tourists are urged to never let their bags out of their sight, especially in busy areas of the airport that are open to the public, such as drop-off and pick-up points. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
Always double check all your belongings are where they are meant to be before moving from one airport space to another, and double check all bags are completely zipped up.
This year Bali Airport has made a commitment to invest in improving customer experience. InJourney is a state-owned enterprise in Indonesia that is responsible for all aviation and tourism-related renovations.
The director of the company announced last year that Bali Airport would be the first of the country’s airports to undergo a series of improvements to help put customer experience front and center. The Director, Dony Oskaria, wants Bali Airport to feel like a destination in its own right, prioritizing comfort as well as functionality. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
Police In Bali Quick To Respond To Bizarre New Custom License Plate Trend
Police in Bali are working hard to stop a new trend in its tracks. There has been an alarming rise in the number of foreigners who have been adding custom license plates to their mopeds and motorbikes in Bali. The custom plates are not formally registered with the transportation agency. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
After police intervention, the new trend further caught the attention of the public thanks to observational accounts like @moscow_cabang_bali. Police across Bali’s tourism hotspots are now on the lookout for more offenders.
The first foreigners to be pulled over by traffic police were visiting Nusa Lembongan. Offices from the Klungkung Police Traffic Unit in Nusa Lembongan arrested four foreigners on a number of serious violations. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
Of the four individuals, three had custom plates showing a phone number and text, and the fourth had a name branded on the plate. All four were arrested based on the fact that none of them had helmets, a SIM C motorcycle license, nor did they carry their foreign identification documents on them. Police have confirmed that the four individuals arrested in Nusa Lembongan are from Russia. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
Speaking shortly after the incident, the Head of Public Relations of the Bali Regional Police, Kombes Pol Stefanus Satake Bayu Setianto, said, “These violators committed gross violations. They do not wear safety helmets, have no driver’s licenses, no personal identity passports [documents], without being equipped with vehicle papers, and use fake license plates. The violators were arrested at the Klungkung Police for questioning.”
As soon as videos started appearing online, both residents and visitors to the island snapped photos and videos of drivers with illegal custom license plates and sent the evidence to the police and citizen journalism social media accounts.
There are dozens, with more going viral by the hour. Police in Bali have announced that they are increasing the surveillance of the issue around all the major traffic spots in all of Bali’s major tourism hotspots. This included Canggu, Seminyak, Legian, Kuta, and Ubud. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
Kombes Pol Setianto also confirmed that during the inspection of license plates in Nusa Lembongan, an Australian and a French national were also pulled over due to issues with the number plates.
However, it was soon discovered that the issue with the license plate falls under the responsibility of the motorcycle owner, who did not have the correct license registration for the vehicles. Setianto said, “The results of the temporary inspection, the motorcycles used by the violators are motorcycles from rental services. One of the violators here is a rental service provider.” (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
Officials In Bali Propose Public Awareness Billboards Targeted At Foreigners
Officials in Bali have announced that they have plans to create billboards in foreign languages to help build awareness amongst visitors to the island on how to behave. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
The announcement comes just days after the provincial government confirmed that they had launched a dedicated task force to crack down on foreigners working illegally on the island.
The concept is in its socialization phase, in that officials are tabling the idea and gauging public support. The Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana, told reporters that the government had assigned the task to his team. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
He said, “we are assigned by the government, in this case, the Bali Tourism Office, to prepare socialization in the form of writing and visuals. However, we have to start with some kind of appeal at several points.”
Adnyana said that billboards and public awareness campaign materials would be installed at strategic locations in Denpasar Regency, Denpasar Regency, and Gianyar Regency. This would cover all of the island’s most popular resort destinations, including Kuta, Seminyak, Legian, Canggu, Ubud, Sanur, Nusa Dua, and Uluwatu. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
He continued ‘the point is for tourists to respect the cultural customs of the Balinese by dressing well and eating and being orderly in carrying out traffic activities. By not doing things that are outside the provisions such as doing business and working in Bali.”
He confirmed that at least ten large billboards will be installed and will have the content written in foreign languages. He confirmed that English will be the first, but that in the future, the boards may be replicated in other foreign languages.
Adnyana said, “indeed, we are ‘welcoming’ and accept everything. Guests are king but don’t abuse.” He also confirmed that the Tourism Board would collaborate with social media influencers, tourism stakeholders, e-commerce businesses, and international content creators to future publicize the campaign. He added, “later the one who advises from his own people so that we are not blacklisted and troubled in other peoples countries. It is much better if those who advise from their own people.”
He concluded by saying that the billboards would be built and presented in alignment with regulations in Bali. Adyana ended his statement by saying, “for the billboard-making fund [it will be paid for with a] fund that has been prepared. We will coordinate the imposition of the billboard installation tax only so that it is not charged. The size is large, for example, 4×5 meters according to the important thing that needs to be read, easy, and there are aesthetic [considerations]”. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
government, will crack down on illegal workers on the island. The announcement was made by the Deputy Governor of Bali, Cok Ace, and the Head of the Provincial Tourism Office, Tjok Bagus Pemayun, on Monday, 28th February.
In the days that followed, a circular letter from the Presidential Palace in Jakarta was released publically. The letter invited addresses to attend a meeting “related to the situation of the security and public order in the Province of Bali, especially in the context of the activities of Foreign Citizens (WNA).” (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
Addressees include the Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, as well as the Head of Bali Police, Inspector General Pol Putu Jayan Danu Putura, and the Director General of Immigration, Silmy Karim. Representatives for the Department of Tourism and Creative Economies were also included in the letter, as well as civil representatives.
These included social justice activities and Balinese entrepreneur Ni Luh Djelantik and lecturer of social and political sciences at Udayana University, Wayhu Bdui Nugroho. (Main Article: North Bali Popular)
This week a Russian national was deported after being found guilty of working illegally in Bali. The man, known by his initials SZ was deported for working as a photographer despite being on a temporary residence visa designed to facilitate pre-investment and investment activities, not income-generating work.