Thursday, March 31, 2016

27th August 1883 - The Day the World Exploded


On 27th August 1883 the most terrifying volcanic eruption occurred on the island of Krakatoa, five miles off the western tip of Java.

The island was destroyed and almost 40,000 people were killed. The impact was truly global: ships sailing in the Red Sea were covered in ash; barometers went haywire in Washington; the seas were disturbed in Devon; stunning sunsets burned over London; immense rafts of pumice floated to Africa.

The world shifted, geologically, politically and socially, and the word 'Krakatoa' became embedded in the consciousness of the modern world.

I have just read Simon Winchester's book by the same name and it was absolutely rivetting.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

When Bali's Hotel Boom Goes Bust

With an estimated 130,000 rooms for rent every night in Bali, many of which remain empty, it should be apparent to even the most casual observer that Bali is in a critical oversupply situation.

Further confirmation of Bali’s oversupply of tourist accommodation is also seen in occupancy rates well below 50%. Low occupancies and the open tariff war now underway is resulting in bottom line results viewed by industry experts as non-sustainable.

Accurate data on the actual number of tourist accommodation rooms for sale in Bali is hard to come by, especially when illegal villas and unregistered hotel rooms are added to the equation. If, however, the number of 130,000 room number is largely correct, this translates into 47,450,000 hotel room nights for sale in a single year.

Extrapolating further and assuming an average of 2 people per hotel room, Bali would need its current estimated 10 million domestic and international visitor to stay between 9-10 days each visit to achieve 100% occupancy.

But, in fact, the average length of stay for tourists visiting Bali is only 3.8 days resulting in an average of 25-30% occupancy across the board.

Despite this dismal reality, an estimated 25 new hotels opened in 2015 with a number of major hotels still under construction. Add to this controversial plans to build a major new hotel project on reclaimed land in Benoa Bay that, if completed, would add thousands of new rooms to the Island’s already overstocked accommodation inventory.

A lack of understanding on just how dire the oversupply of hotel rooms has become among Denpasar and Badung officials who sign the “lucrative” permits for new projects suggests that the worst is yet to come in the continuing decline of the Island’s once proud hotel sector.

Seems like the rumour I heard is true: that business is so bad that some of the hotels are stealing towels from their guests.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

... und im Radio läuft Popp-Musik


There has been a German retreat from Banjar Hills Retreat with the German couple Ralf Pelzner and Anke Sawalies returning to Germany after little more than eighteen months in Bali. What happened?

And what's going to happen next? Is there life after Bali? Will Anke again be waxing bodies at waxy-hexy and Ralf making pop music with the swing-doctors? (he's the one on the far right)

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

Anyway, following the departure of the German couple, the Australian "owners" (no foreigner can actually own Indonesian real estate) are now closing Banjar Hills Retreat and it is again up for sale. As one of the four part-"owners" put it, "We are through with the place. And we are through with Bali. The crowds, the traffic, the general greed are all very disappointing."