"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Friday, June 19, 2015

Why Australians are looking beyond Bali for beach holidays

One of Myuran Sukumaran's final paintings on Nusa Kambangan island
One of Myuran Sukumaran's final paintings on Nusa Kambangan island, RI
The travel industry is chalking it up to a mix of factors: the recent Bali Nine executions, the mining bust in Western Australia, and renewed interest in alternative tropical destinations.

But what is clear is that interest from Australians in travelling to Bali has waned in recent months. The Bali Government Tourism Office reported a 4 per cent drop in Australian arrivals in May following a long period of enormous growth from the biggest tourist market for the Indonesian island.

It comes as the Indonesian government this week added 30 nationalities to its visa-free travel list, including New Zealand, the United States and Canada. However, Australians will still need to pay a $US35 fee for a 30-day visa on arrival because Australia is not on the expanded list.

Searches for Bali hotels on aggregator site Trivago fell by 62 per cent in April and 41 per cent in May from a year earlier, indicating the numbers of Australians heading to Bali could weaken in the months to come.

The day after the executions of drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran on April 29, there was an immediate 22 per cent drop in searches, but there has been talk from some Australians about boycotting travel to Bali since a request for clemency was denied in February.

Flight Centre Travel Group corporate affairs manager Haydn Long said it was likely that some people had chosen to avoid Bali due to the executions, but that might not be the only factor at play, as there was a lag between bookings and actual travel.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, Jamie Freed, June 19, 2015

Indonesia ‘not a democracy’, according to Australians

Despite its claims in global fora, Indonesia is not considered democratic by a majority of Australians, a recent survey from an Australian think tank has revealed.

In the 11th annual poll conducted by the Lowy Institute, 34 percent of respondents agreed that Indonesia was a democracy (10 percent said they strongly agreed, 24 percent said they somewhat agreed). The proportion was slightly higher than 33 percent in 2013 (7 percent strongly agreeing, 26 percent somewhat agreeing).

The poll comes a year after Indonesia conducted legislative and presidential elections that saw Joko “Jokowi” Widodo chosen as the country’s seventh president. The elections were globally regarded as vibrant and peaceful.

A slim majority of the respondents, however, responded that Indonesia, often referred to as the world’s third-biggest democracy and largest democratic Islam-dominated country, said that they disagreed that Indonesia was a democracy (27 percent strongly disagreed and another 27 percent somewhat disagreed).

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Source: Jakarta Post, Bagus BT SaragihJune 18, 2015

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