British Airways set to resume Jakarta flights

British Airways (BA) is expected to resume flights to Jakarta before the end of 2013.

BA last served Jakarta before the economic downturn a few years ago. Indonesia’s air transport director, Djoko Murjatmodjo, reportedly told the Jakarta Post recently that six new foreign carriers would soon begin services to the country. BA is reportedly one of the carriers and is expected to make an official announcement shortly.

The UK’s national airline recently rescheduled its London to Singapore terminator flights, BA11 and BA12, to allow a longer layover in the City State. The eight hours that the aircraft remains on the ground would be adequate to fit in a return ‘tag’ flight to Jakarta.

Lufthansa also used to offer the same route when it last served Jakarta via Singapore. Since Lufthansa quit Jakarta, there are only two European carriers that operate there, namely KLM and Turkish Airlines. If BA decides to return, it is likely to have traffic rights similar to Lufthansa’s and carry passengers between Singapore and Jakarta.

Meanwhile, Indonesian airline, Garuda, which was set to inaugurate flights from London Gatwick to Jakarta and Sydney on November 2, has amended its UK website. The airline is thought to be considering its options in the light of BA’s possible return, according to Business Traveller.

But British Airways will face stiff competition, not only from Garuda but also from SIA and from the Gulf carriers who are all adding more services. Emirates alone operate three daily B777-300ER flights into Jakarta, while SIA flies nine times a day from Singapore, with connections from its five daily UK flights.

Two new tourist locations being marketed in Indonesia

The regional government in Indonesia is marketing two new tourist attractions that are expected to drive an increased tourist flow to the nation.

Announcing its development plans, the West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) regional government said that it was planning serious moves to increase tourism to the region. The government said that it was aiming to increase the count of tourists to Lombok and Sumbawa by two million annually by 2015. The government is taking the initiative following the success of the Visit Lombok-Sumbawa 2012 campaign, which saw one million domestic and international visitors arrive in the nation during the first 11 months of this year.

NTB tourism and culture director, Lalu Gita Ariyadi, while speaking at the Lombok-Sumbawa Travel Fair in Jakarta last weekend, said, ‘The domestic market holds the biggest potential for Lombok, and we expect it to contribute 65 percent of arrivals, with the rest from the international market.’ Ariyadi also said that international tourists made up 25 percent of total inflows to these two regions this year.

The department also said that it was creating new campaigns to make itself attractive in the international tourist market. One example is that the NTB government and the regional tourism promotion board are to organise sales missions to Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia next year. Additionally, two events that will commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mount Tambora’s eruption are also to be held in Sumbawa in 2015.

Ariyadi said, ‘MICE has been an important market in achieving the one million mark, and we will continue to boost it. A number of investors have shown their interest in developing a convention centre in Lombok and we are in the process of selection now.’

He also hoped that Garuda Indonesia, which recently began Makassar-Lombok services, would operate more direct flights to the destination. He also said that the department was talking with airlines, including Tiger Airways Australia, to run services between Australia and Lombok, especially from Perth.


Sanur named strategic tourism area in Indonesia

The tourism department of Indonesia has named Sanur as a strategic tourism area.

Sanur is already renowned as one of the centres of tourism in Bali, and with the recent announcement by the Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy ministry, the status of the region has been enhanced as one of five strategic tourism destinations in Indonesia.

The other four areas that share a similar status are Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi; Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara; Toraja in South Sulawesi and Bromo in East Java. The five locations would serve to host pilot projects for the development of other destinations in Indonesia.

The announcement elevating Sanur’s status will lead to the ministry conducting more research and direct monitoring activities related to tourism development in Sanur. A research and development programme is to be launched in 2013 and will continue for three years. Sanur, which was a fishing village some time ago, is a hot spot for nature lovers and businesses. It would now see the local communities being involved in the development of tourism.

With the region being declared as a strategic spot, local cultures and festivals would receive a boost from the tourism department. The annual Sanur Village Festival would be afforded much importance in new tourist itineraries. Further, new accommodation norms to be enforced in the area would have to comply with minimum standards set by the department. The area has also been declared free of beggars, scavengers and hawkers.

Ida Bagus Gede Sidharta Putra, chairman of Sanur Development Foundation (YPS), said, ‘A ‘huge wave’ of investors is now targeting Sanur and cluttering the area, because their buildings do not fit to our concept of a village. Business competition is also getting tougher. We have to protect local people and maintain our image as a quality destination. I couldn’t imagine if there was accommodation with hundreds of rooms on a 2,000-square-metre plot of land, like in Kuta. This area would be more crowded. Sanur has been chosen because it has been successful in maintaining its identity amid global challenges.’

Luxury Travel: Comparing Bali’s Best Private Villas

Few travel destinations match Bali in variety. The Indonesian island plays home to backpackers and multi-millionaires, with a vast array of different accommodation and leisure options. A shining light in Asia’s tropical travel selection, the acclaimed ‘Island of the Gods’ offers more than meets the eye, with an extensive selection of cultural attractions rounding out its immense water sports offerings.

There’s no shortage of information on Bali’s lower end – the ultra-cheap bungalows situated on its southern shores and tourism centres. What we’re more interested in is the island’s luxury side – the beachfront villas and private residences. The island’s top villas can command prices of over $1000 daily, leaving all but the most affluent travellers forced to search for shared hotels.

The first spot any millionaire is likely to look is Bali’s Pererenan Bay, an almost completely empty expanse of beach and smooth rocks separated from the island’s tourist-heavy mainland. Prices tend to be on the high side, with a six-bedroom beachfront villa available from just $2200 nightly in the island’s peak tourism season. Our pick is the ultra-luxurious Villa Waringin, which houses up to ten.

Of course, the island’s tourism hot spots are also home to some impressive private accommodation deals. Search along the famed Kuta Beach and you’ll see mid-range hotels and large chains, but go just two kilometres down the main road and you’ll hit a string of privately owned villas. Prices are high, but typically below that found on less crowded beaches, at around $500 per night.

With Eat, Pray, Love pushing Bali’s luxurious side to the forefront of any traveller’s mind, now is the best time to plan any ultra-luxury trips. While the island’s luxurious side is far from cheap, it’s one of Asia’s most exotic and appealing travel spots. Aside from the cost, is there anything to hold you back from beachfront luxury?