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NEWS

ISSUE 12

SHOWING LOMBOK TO THE WORLD!

THE MAKING OF A MAGAZINE

GOSIP SPONSORS YOUNG TALENT

GARUDA INDONESIA PLANS TO GO PUBLIC

TOURIST ARRIVALS ON THE INCREASE

TWO DIE IN WATER SPORTS ACCIDENTS IN BALI

WHAT PRICE LOCAL ELECTIONS?

LOCAL SCENE

THE SECRET LIFE OF TURTLES

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SHOWING LOMBOK TO THE WORLD!

Welcome to The Lombok Guide – Lombok's complete tourism paper and your guide to the best that the island has to offer. The Lombok Guide is published on Lombok every fortnight and contains valuable information for all visitors to our magical island. Use the Guide to explore Lombok and check out the best hotels, restaurants and sight-seeing options, to make your Lombok holiday special.

There's much excitement in The Lombok Guide office this fortnight as we prepare to release our first annual full colour magazine. The Lombok Guide 2008 magazine contains 64 pages of useful information about Lombok and its businesses, and beautiful photos of our island in all its glory. 5000 copies of the magazine will be distributed over the next month to international travel agents throughout Europe, Britain and Australia. Copies will also be available from Merpati, Trans Nusa, Trigana and Gili Cat offices and selected travel agencies in Bali. If you are planning a holiday to Lombok soon, ask your travel agent for a copy.

To complement our magazine, we've also printed 1000 copies of Lombok's first-ever promotional poster. To be distributed to agents together with our magazine, we are blitzing overseas agents with the tools they need to market Lombok as a destination!

And why not?! With a local culture that is rich and fascinating, a world-famous volcano providing spectacular trekking opportunities, the Gili Islands offering exceptional diving, and an environment that is simply stunning in its natural beauty, there are so many reasons to visit Lombok; so now we're showing our island to the rest of the world! Come and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself … like thousands of others, you'll be enchanted!

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THE MAKING OF A MAGAZINE

Just seven short weeks ago Kita Design, the publishers of The Lombok Guide, were asked to produce a full colour magazine version of the Guide for international distribution.

The number one obstacle to developing tourism in Lombok in the past has been the lack of information and promotional material about Lombok available to overseas travel agents. This has always made it difficult for travel partners to sell Lombok as a destination to prospective visitors.

Inspired by the challenge of producing an international standard publication ready for distribution in time for the July/August “high season”, the team at Kita Design threw themselves into a frenzy of writing, sales, advertising and graphic design in order to have the magazine ready for printing at the beginning of May 2008.

Being all too well acquainted with the amount of effort required to produce the sixty four pages of text, design and layout that make up The Lombok Guide 2008 Magazine, it was time for us to learn about the other side of magazine production – the printing stage.

Our journey took us to the offices of PT Antar Surya in Surabaya, Java. Antar Surya is the printing branch of Kompas Gramedia, the largest printing company in Indonesia and publishers of the Kompas daily newspaper, Nova, Bola and various other popular Indonesian magazines.

The huge printing works spans over one and a half hectares, but Antar Surya say they have already outgrown these spacious premises and will be relocating to a new 2.5 hectare site next year. Inside the enormous buildings, huge printing presses tower overhead sucking in rolls of paper like spaghetti. Forklifts race across the floor, lifting giant rolls of paper to feed the hungry presses that churn out pages of newspapers and printed materials twenty-one hours per day, every day of the week.

The scale of the operation is unimaginable unless you witness it. For three days we watched the experienced and professional printing team transform our files into a high quality publication. The end result is 5000 copies of a fantastic new magazine, full of useful tourism information and beautiful photos of Lombok.

The Lombok Guide 2008 Magazine is an annual publication, endorsed by the Lombok Hotels Association and will be published in May each year. Over the next month the magazine will be distributed to major travel agencies throughout Europe, Britain and Australia, as well as to Garuda Indonesia sales offices worldwide, Silk Air offices and Qantas Airways sales offices in all Australian capital cities.

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GOSIP SPONSORS YOUNG TALENT

Gosip Discotheque, the popular nightspot upstairs in the Senggigi Square, is conducting a new initiative to sponsor young talent and introduce local students to the entertainment industry.

On Monday, 12 May 2008, Gosip hosted their first “Kampus Night” for the economics faculty of UNRAM (Mataram University). The initiative came about when Gosip was approached by local university students looking for a venue to host parties and functions specifically tailored for students. The management of Gosip liked the idea of supporting the local community and offered them the use of their spacious disco, free of charge.

With only one week preparation time, the students worked closely with the team at Gosip to put together a programme for the night which included a modern dance demonstration, performances by three live bands (made up of campus students) and a dance competition, with the winning couple crowned “Dance King and Queen”.
The “Kampus Night” initiative is open to all universities, not just UNRAM, and future events will include programmes by other faculties from UNRAM, IKIP, FKIP and other Lombok universities. It is envisaged that events will be held every two months.

Gosip Management Advisor, Anshary, said that Gosip was glad of the opportunity to support the student community in Lombok. “Many young students are wary of nightclubs and discos, and have a perception that they are bad. We want to show these students that clubs can be fun, with the right attitude”.

“Most of the university students don't know about the entertainment business, so the Kampus Night programmes give them the opportunity to learn about hosting a function, and what is involved in the preparation and planning of entertainment events. It also gives young bands and aspiring musicians and entertainers the opportunity to perform in public at a popular Senggigi venue”.

Kampus Nights are open to the public and everyone is welcome to come along and watch the show and support the students. At present, Gosip Disco is sponsoring the events themselves, but hopes to attract other sponsors in the future. If you can help, or are looking for a venue to hire for your own events, contact Anshary at Gosip during opening hours.

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GARUDA INDONESIA PLANS TO GO PUBLIC

The national news agency, Antara, reports that Garuda Indonesia will make an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in 2009. It is reported that Garuda will offer 30-40% of its shares to the public in 2009.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Sofyan Djalil, has confirmed that the Government will not inject more funds into the national carrier, Garuda Indonesia; particularly given the improving business performance of the state-owned airline.

The Minister made his pronouncement the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the airline and Jasindo, one of the company's insurers.

Pointing to the Rp 250 billion (US $27.2 million) profit reported by Garuda in 2007, Minister Djalil is optimistic that the state-owned airline is now operating on a more viable business footing than in previous years. Speaking at the same occasion, the CEO of Garuda, Emirsyah Satar, confirmed that the airline had earned a profit in the first quarter of 2008. The amount of the profit will, however, only be available in mid-May when the company's accountants make their formal financial report. Satar said that intense efforts were underway to maximize the value of the airline before launching the share offer. In addition to improving operational efficiencies across the board at Garuda, the airline is continuing efforts to restructure its massive debt.

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TOURIST ARRIVALS ON THE INCREASE

The number of tourists visiting NTB at the beginning of 2008 has increased, with a recorded number of 22 979 arrivals for the first two months of this year.

For the month of February alone, 11 737 people visited the region; an increase of 4.40% compared to January 2008. Januray recorded 11 242 arrivals. If compared to the previous year, when 9 580 arrivals were recorded for February 2007, 2008 shows an increase of 22.52%.

According to the Regional Chief of the Bureau of Statistics NTB, Mariadi Mardian, not only are tourist arrivals on the rise, but the average length of stay per visitor is also increasing.

The average number of days that visitors were staying in the region during February 2008 increased to 3.09 days, compared to an average of 2.74 days in January. The average stay for February 2007 was only 2.68 days, hence an increase of 0.41 days over the previous year's figures.

The statistics for star-rated hotels for February 2008 show that five star hotels attracted 1 307 guests, with an average length of stay of 6.15 days. Four star hotels recorded 6 188 guests who stayed an average of 2.87 days.
From a total of 11 737 tourist arrivals to NTB during the month of February 2008, 8 978 people or 76.49% were domestic tourists, while foreign arrivals numbered 2 759 people or 23.51% of total arrivals.

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TWO DIE IN WATER SPORTS ACCIDENTS IN BALI

Two Deaths in the Tanjung Benoa Water Sports area in a single week have resulted in calls by the Water Sports Association to tighten its safety standards. The Chairman of the National Water Sports Association (Gahwisri), Yos WK Amerta, has vowed to tighten standard operating procedures in the wake of several fatal accidents over the past weeks involving tourists visiting Bali.

While suggesting that the recent mishaps were "natural disasters" caused by the weather, Pak Amerta said his association would nonetheless rededicate itself to improving procedures and keeping future accidents to an absolute minimum.

According to “Bisnis Bali” there are an estimated 25 water sports companies operating in the Tanjung Benoa area. When challenged by the press on the ability of Tanjung Benoa to accommodate such a large number of water sports operators, Pak Amerta refused to comment, saying the government has refused to seriously look at carrying capacity issues. The Government, however, stopped issuing new licenses for operators in the Tanjung Benoa area in 2004.

On Monday, April 14, 2008, localised whirlwinds were cited as the cause of a parasailing accident on Tanjung Benoa that resulted in the death of a 30 year old South Korean woman, Cha Young Mi.

The fatal accident took place at around 10:30am, when a sudden whirlwind pulled the parasail off course, causing the cord securing it to the boat to break. The terrified woman flew uncontrolled for a number of minutes before eventually coming to earth in an inverted position, where she struck her head on a gravestone in a local cemetery. Suffering severe head injuries, the woman was rushed to a local hospital where she died a short time later.
The same sudden onslaught of local whirlwinds and rains along the Tanjung Benoa peninsula was also blamed for at least three other accidents suffered by parasailers, none of which were fatal.

Reports in Nusa Bali have been critical of the operator of the parasail company that handled the South Korean woman, claiming the company had ignored maintenance and routine inspections programs. Local newspapers quoted the Secretary General of the Bali Paragliding Association, M. Rifan, who blamed the operator, PT Ciwa Sempurna, for having failed to undertake the required regular inspections of equipment, which he blamed for the broken tow line. Police continue to investigate the incident.

In the same week, on Saturday 19 April, just five days after the death of the South Korean woman, a second fatality claimed the life of a Japanese woman participating in water sports in Tanjung Benoa. Fushida Aki (41) was riding a flying fish with her husband, Fushida Osamu, at 9:30am when a gust of wind was blamed for the accident. The woman suffered broken legs and severe head injuries resulting in her death a short time later at the Kasih Ibu Hospital. Her husband sustained a broken arm in the accident.

A flying fish is a water sports thrill ride resembling a banana boat with a kite, towed by a high speed boat.

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WHAT PRICE LOCAL ELECTIONS?

The cost to provide security during the upcoming elections of the regional Governor and Vice Governor on 7 July 2008 has been estimated at around Rp 5 billion.

On Monday 5 May 2008, the head of the local police (Polda) NTB, Brigjen Wawan Hendrawan, accepted a direct security donation fund of Rp 4 250 billion from the Governor of NTB, Pak Lalu Serinata. The police department has conscripted 7 850 personnel to be posted at all polling stations during the election.

Meanwhile, the TNI (Indonesian Army) and intelligence forces will receive another Rp 750 million in funds to conduct indirect security operations during the election period.

According to Brigjen Hendrawan, police personnel will be stationed at polling booths in the city, as well as throughout the small villages across Lombok and the surrounding mountain areas. Not only police personnel will be involved in the operation. Nine units from the regional Police Resort (Polres) and one unit from the mobile brigade (Brimob) will be involved in controlling voters.

Polda NTB will also be called upon to provide personal security for all of the candidates in the election.
Recently the current Governor of NTB, Pak Lalu Serinata has been at the heart of a smear campaign to discredit his reputation in the lead-up to the July elections. It is believed that the illegal campaign was directed and financed by perpetrators from Central Lombok. Wawan Hendarawan said that Polda NTB was investigating the incident in which hundreds of slanderous stickers were posted around the cities, accusing the Governor of corruption. Police are also investigating whether local media or newspapers were involved in the slander campaign.

In order for the balloting to take place on 7 July 2008, the General Election Commission NTB (KPUD) will prepare a total of 7 220 polling booths to be located in cities and villages throughout the NTB region. 5 010 polling stations will be available in Lombok and another 2 210 booths will be located throughout Sumbawa.

The NTB Governor has already provided a budget to the General Election Commission of Rp 62 billion, while the Election Monitoring Committee (Panwas) will receive funds equal to Rp 5 billion to guarantee its 395 members can monitor the election process being carried out in nine districts and 115 sub-districts throughout the NTB region.

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LOCAL SCENE

SATURDAY NIGHT @ SAHARA CLUB

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HAPPY B’DAY MASRI @ SEAFOOD NIKMAT

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THE SECRET LIFE OF TURTLES

Early in the morning a small, excited group of people gathered on the beachfront. The early rain had calmed the water and now the sun was shining across the sea, making conditions perfect for the coming ceremony. The group made their way slowly across the sand, holding their hands outstretched as, cupped in their palms, they cradled small, perfectly formed Green Turtles ready to be returned to the ocean. One by one, the people placed their precious charges on the wet sand. For a moment, the baby turtles seemed hesitant, moving awkwardly, before natural instinct took over and they moved towards the water. Then with a leap of almost human joy, the turtles entered the sea and flew to freedom in the deep blue waters.

This is turtle rehabilitation at its most satisfying – an initiative of the many businesses based on the Gili islands, working with the local communities to preserve the islands' turtle populations.

Three of the world's endangered turtle species – the Green Turtle, the Hawksbill Turtle and the Leatherback Turtle – make their homes in the waters around Lombok. All are faced with the danger of extinction from a variety of sources, including pollution, natural predators, destruction of coral reefs, and the most dangerous predator of all: man. Now the humans are giving back, committed to preserving a natural resource and giving these endangered creatures a better chance to not only survive, but hopefully flourish.

Green Turtles have been at particular risk in the past, being traditionally hunted as a food source. They are the main ingredient in “turtle soup”, as well as being used as an ingredient in cosmetics and Chinese medicines, while the skin has been used for making “turtle leather”. Unlike neighbouring Bali, where turtle meat is a traditional food as well as playing an important part in Hindu religious ceremonies; the local people of Lombok do not traditionally eat turtle meat. The turtle eggs, however, are another matter and have been collected as a food source here for many generations.

Green Turtles reach sexual maturity at between 20 – 50 years of age, during which time the female turtle will lay hundreds of eggs, but only a small percentage will actually survive. The eggs are very delicate and can be destroyed by too much heat, moisture and, of course, predators. If the eggs do last long enough to hatch, the small hatchlings are vulnerable to birds and other predators, often never making it to the sea.

Interestingly, mature turtles will return to the same beach from which they were originally hatched, often laying their eggs within metres of their own original nest. Eggs are usually laid around the time of the full moon, with clutches of between 60 and 100 eggs each time, although the Hawksbill Turtle can lay up to 230 small eggs in a single nest. Digging an egg chamber above the high-tide line, the female turtle lays her eggs, and then refills the chamber with dry sand before returning to the ocean. At this point the unprotected eggs are often dug up and taken by local villagers, either to be eaten or, more often, taken to the market to be sold.

Lombok and Gilis turtle hatcheries often purchase these turtle eggs from the local markets, in an attempt to take preventative action at the source. It's better not to purchase eggs directly from the fishermen, to discourage them from hunting for turtle nests. The eggs are usually purchased very early in the morning, to ensure the best hatch rate possible. The percentage of live eggs is difficult to determine and the success rate for hatched turtles depends upon a number of factors, including how the eggs have been handled and transported, how long since they were removed from their nests, and how long they have been exposed to heat and air.

The purchased eggs are then carefully transported to safety, where they are placed in specially prepared egg hatcheries and buried in dry beach sand under conditions as similar to their natural state as possible. It is important that the eggs are kept in dry beach sand and are protected from dampness and excess heat.
After about 7 weeks, or around the second full moon after laying, the eggs begin to hatch and the small turtles struggle out of their bed of sand to the surface. At the time of hatching they are very small, only a few centimetres in diameter. In their natural state, this would be a time of great vulnerability, being at the mercy of birds, larger fish and other predators both on the land and in the sea. A very small number of turtles survive these hazards and ever reach maturity to continue their species.

At the turtle hatcheries, the newly hatched turtles are separated into special shallow pools where they will be allowed to grow until they are strong enough to be released back into the ocean. The pools are filled with fresh seawater, which has to be changed regularly to ensure a continuous supply of fresh nutrients. The young turtles are fed a special diet of fresh fish, usually twice a day, although the Green Turtles are fed more often, growing much faster than the Hawksbill and Leatherback varieties.

Once the turtles have grown large and strong enough to be returned to the ocean, they are released back into the sea to begin their lives in their natural habitat. Visitors to the islands are encouraged to participate in the turtle rehabilitation programmes, including releasing the turtles back into the wild. Most hatcheries subsidise their own funds with funds donated by guests for continuing upkeep of the hatcheries, purchase of food for the hatchlings, and money for the initial purchase of eggs from the markets.

Turtle rehabilitation projects allow guests to participate in a very special conservation project, as well as teaching the local community the value of these endangered animals. Lombok businesses, by setting the example, teach people to understand that these sea creatures are an important part of their heritage and of their future. Already the attitudes of local communities are changing, particularly through education at school level and by allowing children to participate in the care and release of the turtles.

Turtle hatcheries exist on all three of the Gilis, as well as on mainland Lombok. Check with the local dive companies to find out where they are and when there is a turtle release due. Remember to make a donation – you'll be helping to support education of the community, as well as future generations of these beautiful graceful creatures in our oceans.

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