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Bamboo Building Bonanza in Bali

Bali. Off Bali's beaten track, ask past a towering banyan tree and next to an ancient Hindu temple, treat the world's largest bamboo commercial structure is slowly taking shape: a chocolate factory.

The three-story, 23,000-square-foot building — made from more than 3,000 long, flexible poles — is crowned with a graceful, sloped ceiling nearly 50 feet high.

Frederick Schilling, co-owner of the Big Tree Farms factory, calls it his "bamboo cathedral."

The tropical plant, favored in the West for flooring, furniture and household accessories, is increasingly being viewed as the construction material of choice from Africa to South America — and no longer just for shacks and scaffolding.

Bali is leading the charge, attracting carpenters, architects and designers from across the globe to use bamboo in building everything from a school and luxury villas to exclusive resorts.

The plant, found in almost every equatorial nation, can grow up to 4 feet in a single day, reaching the height of a giant oak in less than six months. Some species are strong enough to be used for construction in five years.

Cheap — costing just $3 to plant and maintain one piece until it's ready to go — tough as concrete, with the ability to bend, and incredibly abundant, the possibilities are almost limitless.

"Bamboo is definitely regarded as one of the most sustainable building materials in the world," said Schilling, whose factory is scheduled to start pumping out four to six varieties of rich organic chocolate bars in January.

"As a bonus, it's also very beautiful to work with."

Bali's craze, bringing together entrepreneurial expats and local craftsmen, started six years ago with the founding of a local bamboo production company for the construction of Green School, an exclusive international school with 275 students.

Since then, more than a dozen projects have sprung up across the so-called "island of the Gods."

Green Village, a collection of designer villas with individual price tags as high as $750,000, sits down the Ayung River from Green School. Fivelements, a holistic healing retreat, is just a few miles north.

Working with the plant requires a huge shift in the way designers think.

"We're really comfortable in our culture and in architecture with straight lines," said Elora Hardy, the creative director at Green Village. "And bamboo is not a straight line."

Some poles start in the earth and rise three floors.

In both plans and building, "we have to really keep in mind the curve ... where it's going to end up at the top."

That's exciting and "infinitely complicated," Hardy said.

Ben Ripple, Schilling's partner and the founder of Big Tree Farms, which makes spices, salts and other artisanal products sold at gourmet food stores such as Dean & DeLuca, said Bali is a "microcosm" for the art.

"What you get is a situation where five years on Bali shows what happens over a 20-year-plus period in other more developed areas."

But whether the success of bamboo here can be replicated in cooler, dry climates remains to be seen.

Strict building codes in Europe and the United States make large-scale construction projects more difficult to take on, said Victor van Praag, co-owner of PT Green Home, a bamboo design company.

Like any new industry, bamboo construction remains in a constant state of innovation, he added. The absence of well-defined standards allows for unrestrained creativity: from developing longer-lasting treatments to experimenting with design. But it also leaves room for unexpected problems.

Gove DePuy, a sustainability planner who has lived and worked in Bali full-time since 2004, said bamboo construction as it exists on the resort island was too young to be a viable option in the West.

"When you manufacture bamboo into a product, it can be tested. It can be given certifications," he said, using flooring as an example. "But if you're just picking bamboo, cutting it down and putting it up, you've left the certification to nature."

Gove rejects the idea of bamboo becoming a worldwide super material. He said its large-scale use should be limited to tropical regions where the plant's abundance, affordability and proven strengths make it most practical.

Bamboo construction has also gotten attention in Columbia, Vietnam and China, the world's leader in bamboo production.

But as green-minded expats have learned in Indonesia, their enthusiasm for bamboo is rarely matched by local people, who often view the material as second rate.

"Indonesians only think that bamboo is used for scaffolding," said Effan Adhiwira, an architect who worked on both Green School and Green Village.

Overcoming that stigma remains a challenge for Adhiwira.

Earlier this year, he opened his own architecture studio in Jakarta, Indonesia's bustling capital, where concrete and steel dominate the urban landscape. He hopes to spread the message of bamboo — and ensure its future as one of the world's leading green materials — by hosting university and community workshops across the country.

As Ripple and Schilling see it, their chocolate factory is simply one of the newest and biggest examples of the plant's untapped potential.

"Bamboo has been there in front of our noses all along," Ripple said. "This is not a revolution. It is an awakening to the wisdom that Indonesians have known for a long, long time."


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Indonesia to boost foreign tourist arrival by nearly triple

JAKARTA, sovaldi Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Indonesian government is optimistic to raise the number of foreign tourists coming into the country by nearly triple by 2025 due to acceleration of development, recipe a minister said here on Monday.

Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economy Hatta Rajasa said that the nation's long-term development master plan program, which is partly aimed at speeding up infrastructure development, was expected to raise the number of foreign tourist arrival to over 20 million people by 2025 from this year's target of 7.7 million people. "With a good connectivity development, we can advance our tourism sector and raise our foreign tourist arrivals to 20 million by 2025 from 7.7 this year target," he said.

To reach the goal, the minister encouraged private sectors to take part in the master plan program. "We must speed up infrastructure development. We will invite all businessmen and we expect them to be able to involve in building airports and other facilities," said Hatta.

Indonesia has relied much on Asian tourists rather than European or American tourists, former tourism minister Jero Wacik has said. Rapid growing economy in the emerging Asia is also expected to boost the rise of foreign tourist arrival in Indonesia in coming years.

The number of foreign holidaymakers visiting Indonesia rose by 8.26 percent to 5.61 million people in the first nine months, the Statistic Bureau has announced.

Indonesia targets 8 million foreign holidaymakers coming into the country next year as the government boost infrastructure development and marketing, Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu has said.

The visitors from countries that have emerged relatively unscathed from the credit crisis including China, India and Australia have been the main target of the Indonesian tourism industry, she said.

Over 7 million foreign tourists coming into the country last year, according to the tourism ministry.

The government expects a spending of 8.4 billion U.S. dollars from tourists this year, up from 7.6 billion U.S. dollars last year.

The Indonesian tourism industry has recovered from the impact of terrorism and epidemics.


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TIME 2011 puts Lampung on the Tourism Map

TIME 2011 puts Lampung on the Tourism Map


With hosting the 17th TIME (or Tourism Indonesia Mart & Expo) 2011 at Bandar Lampung, stuff attended by 76 international buyers from 27 countries, sovaldi the province of Lampung at the southern-most tip of the island of Sumatra, nurse hopes to have placed Lampung on the international tourism map.

Opening the 17th TIME and the Krakatau Festival at Bandar Lampung on Wednesday 12 October,  Governor Sjahroedin said that he hoped TIME will serve as the momentum to boost tourist arrivals to Lampung, making tourism as the primary means in developing the province to benefit the people.” "I believe the event will serve as an eye-opener for the international community on what Lampung has to offer”, he said.  TIME is the perfect platform to showcase this new destination’s potentials.

TIME 2011 puts Lampung on the Tourism MapDirector General for Tourism Marketing, Sapta Nirwandar agreed that Lampung has plenty of potentials, possessing icons like the Krakatau volcano, the Way Kambas elephant conservation park, the Tanjung Setia world-class surf, although many of its products, Sapta conceded, still need to be developed.

Major infrastructure development that will facilitate access to the province, Governor Sjahroedin said are the planned Sunda Straits bridge linking the islands of Java with Sumatra, as well as the extension of the Raden Inten airport at Bandar Lampung whose runway will be extended to 2500 metres, and further planned in future to be extended to 3,000 metres to become an international airport."

The 17th Tourism Indonesia Mart & Expo (TIME) 2011 was officially opened, held  at the Korpri Field, Bandar Lampung on Wednesday evening October 12th, 2011. The official opening ceremony was attended by Marketing Director General of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Sapta Nirwandar, and the Governor of Lampung province, Sjachroedin ZP. The ceremony also marked the grand opening of the Festival Krakatau XXI which is jointly held from 12 to 16 October 2011.

The opening ceremony featured art and cultural presentations of Lampung. The Pan Ensemble Music Sumatera commenced the evening, followed by the contemporary gambus Lunik musical art. Lampung Orchestra Ekhamku presented an elegant sound- harmonization and the Sigeh Penguten gave the welcome dance that absorbed the audience into  the beauty of Lampung traditional values, as did the  Melinting dance,  featuring the graceful movements of a couple of youths.

The 76 Buyers attending TIME 2011 included those from the U.S.A, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands. This year the event was also attended by buyers from new markets such as Slovenia, Slovakia, Greece, the Cezch Republic and Mexico. For this 17th edition, the organizing committee targeted an increase of 15-18% increase over total transactions last year, to reach around US$ 20 million.

TIME 2011 is organized by the Indonesia Tourism Society (Masyarakat Pariwisata Indonesia) and is supported by the entire tourism stakeholders of the country, including the Minsitry of Culture and Tourism, the Provincial Government of Lampung, the Asociation of Indonesia’s Travel Agent (ASITA) the Asociation of Indonesia’s Tour Guide, and the Asociation of Indonesia’s Hotels and Restaurants (PHRI).


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Govt hopes foreign arrivals will exceed 7.7m this year

The government is optimistic that foreign tourist arrivals will exceed expectations, viagra sale even though arrivals as of October were so far only 80 percent of the proposed target.

Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry spokesman I Gusti Ngurah Putra said that the government was optimistic that the target could be reached because November and December were among the peak holiday months.

“From year to year, troche the trend of foreign tourist arrivals in November and December continues to increase. With stable political conditions and security, and 7.7 million tourists will come to Indonesia by the end of the year,” Putra told The Jakarta Post.

He also said that the ASEAN Summit in Bali last month strengthened Indonesia’s global image, thereby persuading more people to choose Indonesia as their holiday destination at the end of 2011.

The number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia between January through October 2011 rose 8.47 percent to 6.27 million people from 5.78 million during the same period last year, according to data issued by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) on Friday.

In October alone, the BPS recorded a total of 656,006 foreign tourist arrivals to the country, a 10.32 percent increase compared to 594,700 arrivals during the same month last year.

The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry expected 7.7 million visitors this year, up 10 percent above the 7 million that visited Indonesia in 2010.

Based on ministry data, tourist expenditures are expected to rise to US$8.47 billion by December 2011 up from $7.6 billion in 2010, he said.

In a separate interview, Sadar Pakarti Budi, the ministry’s marketing director said that the ministry is working hard to boost tourism by promoting Indonesia to the world through social media such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube.

“We are strengthening our marketing strategy by involving the people,” Sadar said.

In addition, he said that the ministry is expecting 9.5 million arrivals in 2014 with tourist expenditures reaching $10.93 billion. Based on 2010 World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) data, Indonesia’s tourism sector contributed 9.1 percent to gross domestic product (GDP) and employed 8.9 million people.

The WTTC data also showed Indonesia’s investment in the tourism sector rose 4.2 percent in 2010.

“With a good marketing strategy, the tourism sector will grow and bring wealth to the people,” he said.

The BPS data also showed that the occupancy rate of star hotels in 20 provinces in October 2011 was 54.87 percent, a 1.73 percentage point increase compared to 53.14 percent over the same period in 2010.

However, the average length of stay for foreigners in hotels during October was only 2.01 days, or 0.03 days lower than the same period last year.

The government is taking the tourism sector seriously by designating West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara and Bali in Corridor Five of the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Growth (MP3EI), a gateway for tourism requiring Rp 121.6 trillion (US$13.74 billion) in investment. (nfo)


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Sand Sculpture Festival Held by Indonesia

BOGOR, cialis - Winmark Mendawai Indonesia and World Sand Sculpting Academy (WSSA) in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy and Sentul City will hold an international sand sculpture festival in Sentul, Bogor, West Java.

Winmark Mendawai Indonesia Director Gita Aryanti said here Saturday the festival would be the biggest in Southeast Asia and themed "Wonders of Indonesia and Wonders of the World."

Gita said the festival would run from December 18, 2011 to January 28, 2012, from 11.00 until 19.00 hours daily. Admission tickets would be priced Rp 50,000 on weekdays and Rp75,000 on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

The Indonesian Organizing Committee had invited 22 sand sculpture artists from 11 countries, namely the United States, Britain, Ukraine, Holland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Belgium, Republic of Chzech, Singapore and Japan. To produce their sculptures, the artists would disposal over 2,400 tons of sand from Cilegon, Banten province.

"The idea of ?holding the magnificent sand sculpture festival is a manifestation of our commitment to fully support tourism in Indonesia, and this activity is well received by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy and WSSA as the parent organization," Gita said.

She was sure thet the sand sculpture festival would be an excellent tourist attraction, not only for domestic but also foreign tourists. Meanwhile, Berman Lubis, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry’s director of Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE), said the planned festival would the very first in Indonesia and the largest in the Southeast Asia region.

The activity was expected to be a means of communication and promotion of tourism information for the participants and to increase the number of tourist visits to Indonesia, he said. This activity is very useful for opening new horizons in art which had very great potential to be developed in Indonesia.

The event will be held on an area of ??30,000 square meters. There would be two major large-sized tents each measuring 800 square meters for the exhibition of more than than 40 best sand sculpture in the form of statues, among others part of the Borobudur and Prambanan temples, gadang house ( West Sumatra traditional house), barong, komodo (dragons), one-horn rhinoceros, wayang (puppets), Taj Mahal, Big Ben, Pyramids and the Pharos, and others.

The basic material to make the sculptures would be fine grain sand from Cilegon compacted with water. Compressed into hard masses, the sand would be solid enough to n make steep or tall sculptures.

According to the organizers, the sand sculptures would not damage the sand sculptures because the rainwater would seep into the sand and evaporate when the rain stopped. But when they are hit by a rainstorm the flat surfaces of sculptures may be slightly dented/damaged. Wind would generally not be a problem for the sand sculptures.

Everyone ccould learn the basic techniques for making sand sculptures. Children from the age of seven years and adults could try out their sculpting talent. The important thing was patience, a lot of practice and using the correct techniques, Gita said.

Sand sculptures made outdoors could last several weeks or l months depending on the weather. But if the sand sculpture was made ?indoors it could last indefinitely as long as it was not disturbed.

The sand should not be moist when it is being made ??into a sculpture. The sculptor uses crop sprayers when making the sculpture. When it is finished, the sculpture will be completely dry.

The sand sculpture will not be destroyed because of the compaction process. Sand sculpture art can be studied at the World Art Academy of Sand Sculpting WSAA in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Greece, the United States and Thailand where there are training courses for individuals to learn the sculpturing techniques.


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Kuto Besak Fortress : Overlooking the Musi of Palembang

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