Friday, September 30, 2011

Shop till you drop in Singapore

SINGAPORE has always been and continues to be a shopper’s paradise. Although other major cities in the world have also built shopping malls the city-state remains an attractive choice for branded goods. The following are the experiences of people who frequent Singapore for shopping. (Burhan Abe, The Jakarta Post, September 30, 2011)

Farah Quinn, Celebrity Chef

While I seldom go to Singapore for shopping alone, during my frequent visits I am always tempted to do some shopping, because the moment I step out of my hotel there are lines of malls and shops. So the vibe is instantly shopping and nothing else.

Although shopping is not always on the top of my to-do list, when I return to Indonesia I find that I am carrying lots of things, including fashion items, apparel as well as the cooking utensils that I need for my profession.

I also often purchase food items, because although Singapore is lacking in natural resources and most of its food items are imported, shopping for such things in Singapore is enjoyable due to the available variety – more complete than here in Indonesia - and the guaranteed quality.

Payment is quite convenient with cash or credit card. What is unique is that we can get a refund for sales tax at the airport.

Anastasia F. Sadikun, Businesswoman/Socialite

Why Singapore? Because of its proximity to Indonesia. While shopping in Jakarta is equally attractive nowadays, going to Singapore for shopping has an element of travelling abroad as well. I used to fly to Singapore four to five times a month, but now being tied up at the office I rarely visit the city-state.
I love to shop for fashion items, especially handbags, and also wine, which is cheaper in Singapore than in Indonesia, because here there is luxury goods tax levied on wine.

Apart from being close geographically Singapore guarantees the products sold there including the service. Once I bought a branded handbag costing Rp 40 million and when it was damaged, just a little, mind you, they repaired it for free! This kind of service brings me back to Singapore again and again. My shopping destination is usually Orchard Road and I also like to go to Marina Bay Sands for shopping because it is new, huge and very complete. For payment I can use a number of credit cards, such as Master card, Visa or even Amex which has a more flexible limit.

I go to Singapore not only for shopping, for also for spa treatments and eating out, and for all this Singapore is still heaven!

Ayi Tjakrawadena, Businesswoman

Singapore is a shopper’s heaven. I can’t remember exactly how many times I have been there, but every time I want a branded item Singapore is the right place. I think the main reason is that it is simply so practical. I often I don’t have enough time to stay overnight so I go in the morning and fly back at night. That way it is just like going to a mall in Jakarta, but with a different ambience. In Singapore the goods are up to date and during the sale season it is a perfect for women to shop there.

The right time to shop in Singapore is during the Great Sale which was from May 27 until July 24 this year. Discounts were up to 70 percent on all items. Zara, for example, in Singapore has a more complete range. At @313 Somerset Zara is available on three floors. The labels are classified. There are special offers, discounts and gifts when you use Master card which is the official sponsor. At that time apart from the discounts Master card provided a return ticket to Singapore for every purchase of $100 for non-local customers. Master card in Singapore can be used at more than 100 shopping centers. Unfortunately the limit of my Master card is less than my Visa (and it is usually like that) so I had to back it up with some cash.

I often purchase wallets at Takashimaya and Tangs on Orchard Road as most of my wallets do not last long as somehow I frequently lose them. Wallets are suitable gifts for friends or relatives. The original LV wallets here in Indonesia are more costly than in Singapore. At Bonia wallet boutique there is often a 50 percent discount on items while at Indonesia’s luxury malls the same items are labeled as new arrivals. For MAC cosmetics one can exchange six containers for one brand new item, so I always bring with me six empty lipstick containers to get one free MAC lipstick. Isn’t that fantastic?

Singapore’s ViVo City is the largest and most complete mall and it has a full range of branded goods, restaurants and a large cinema complex. It is very close to Sentosa Island, so if you have spare time you can dabble in gambling for a while. I sometime visit the island when I accompany a foreigner to Singapore.

For less costly but still original items go to OG on Bugis Street, which is similar to Jakarta’s Mangga Dua which is also in China Town. But you can’t use credit cards at every shop here, because the shops are small and rather congested like shops in a bazaar.

Virginia, Media Relations

Shopping in Singapore used to have such a prestigious ring to it back in the days when only people with a certain lifestyle could afford it.

Today traveling to Singapore has become easier and more convenient with increased number of budget flights available. Compared with other countries’ major cities Singapore still remains the number one choice for shopping for Indonesians. If Hong Kong is Asia’s Paris, then Singapore is its Milan for Indonesians.

Another notable consideration is that Singapore has brands that are not available here, even though we have improved substantially in that department but again we are trumped by the fact that Singapore has more alluringly price tags. The fact that they give a GST refund is the icing on the cake.

The extreme popularity of Orchard Road is overwhelming. Even with newer shopping addresses being introduced Orchard Road is still the most popular shopping destination. There is Forum, Renaissance, Shaw Centre, CK Tang, ION Orchard, Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City, of course Lucky Plaza, Paragon, Mandarin Gallery, the increasingly popular Sommerset 313, further to Centerpoint and all the way down to Plaza Singapura. Shopping in Orchard though generally defined from the junction of Orchard and Scott roads down to Centerpoint if not Sommerset 313. The more central the more premium the shopping is to a certain extent. The golden triangle would arguably be ION Orchard, Ngee Ann City and Paragon. Not even The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands can compete, well not for now at least. Obviously Suntec and Vivo City could not.

It just so happens that the holiday season coincides with Singapore Great Sales, in the middle and end of the year. It is these times of the year when Singapore celebrates retail therapy, and guess who are there to celebrate? Proudly and unmistakably, the Indonesians!

Yes, the tremendous prestige of shopping in Singapore has managed to uphold its celebrated image. There is a certain pride attached to the statement “I bought it in Singapore,” even though it is an established fact that the prices are considerably less offensive. Singapore independently has successfully established itself as a destination in Southeast Asia, not only for Indonesians but also for Malaysians, Thais and people from Brunei, among others. There are of course other reasons why Singapore is such a popular destination such as business, medical treatment and education, and more recently, gaming.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The race of luxury city cars

A city car is, generally speaking, a simple car that is suitable for driving in major cities with heavy traffic congestion. But simple does not mean modest as we can see from the appearance of Smart Fortwo, a cute looking car produced by Daimler AG.

PT Mercedes Benz Indonesia launched the smart car last year, the latest model or facelift of the second generation smart. “The launching of Smart in Indonesia is the start of a long term investment by Daimler AG in Indonesia and fulfills the requirements of modern mobility as well as high efficiency and safety. And it is fun to drive,” explained President Director and CEO of PT. Mercedes-Benz Indonesia, Rudi Borgenheimer.

City cars clearly give great benefits for driving mobility in Indonesia’s major cities which are now congested with traffic while Smart itself before being introduced to Indonesia has enjoyed marketing success for the past 10 years in a number of important markets in the world, including Europe and the United States.

Smart fortwo is only 2,695 mm long, 1,559 mm wide and has a height of 1,542 mm and has space for two adults plus space for baggage at the back. Its simple yet modern design allows for better maneuvering and saves parking space in today’s limited space in the cities. The specifications of Smart available in Indonesia match consumer requirements so that the city car can withstand all types of weather here amid the extremely congested traffic of Jakarta. 

Mercedes Benz, the car manufacturer that used to concentrate only on cars with a large machine capacity, is not the only manufacturer focusing on the cute looking smart city cars. General Motors (GM) from the United States is also seriously developing a number of city cars. 

Its premium dry car concept has a modern, dynamic and lively design. At present GM is in the midst of production procession of two designs and to lower its production cost GM has opted to manufacture them at GM DAT (GM Daewoo Auto and Technology Company) in South Korea.

There are two designs being developed at GM DAT, namely the premium model and the low cost one; both still in the initial stage. The premium city car is targeted for sales in the European market while the low cost variant for a more global market, including Southeast Asia. 

Not intending to lose out to GM, another major car manufacturer, Volkswagen, is poised to enter the city car market this year. VW is going to release a variant of Up which is positioned as the reincarnation of Beetle, a low cost VW for the 21st century. This four passenger car will have a three cylinder engine.

Another car maker that is serious about the city car segment is Aston Martin. In November last year Aston Martin exhibited its luxury city car, Cygnet, at the elitist mall Harrods in Knightsbridge, London.

This is the first debut of Cygnet in the world and it will be manufactured by Aston Martin at its factory in Gay-don, England. Albeit a city car Aston Martin promises that Cygnet will have the same luxurious features as other Aston Martin models. That is why Aston Martin positions Cygnet as the solution for rich people who need a city car.

Then what about Cadillac? This producer of luxury cars has introduced its Urban Luxury Concept, which was on exhibition during the recent L.A. Auto Show. Of course to match conditions in today’s cities the car has to be made smaller. However General Motors claims that four adult passengers can sit comfortably in the car. Its wheelbase is only 2.46 m and it has a length of 3.83 m and a width of 1.72 m and a height of just 1.44 m.

This city car has a three cylinder one liter turbocharger engine which was originally planned for Volt, meaning it is a hybrid car. GM claims the car consumes 4.2 liters of fuel for 100 km for city driving while it consumes only 3.62 liters for highway driving.

City cars are becoming more popular and are in great demand as traffic in major cities becomes more congested. They are perfectly suited for city life. Apart from its deft movements a city car is an energy saver as it consumes less fuel. In Indonesia the demand for city cars is naturally growing now, alongside MPVs (multi purpose vehicles).

City cars are meant for those who need a smaller car than a sedan and require less baggage space while at the same time a city car has a shorter wheelbase giving it agility in negotiating traffic jams. At every automotive exhibition, including Jakarta Fair held at JIExpo Kemayoran this year, various city cars were on show beating other types of cars. Authorized agents and dealers always include city cars due to their rising sales every year. Besides its attractive design it is also popular due to its low fuel consumption.

Manufacturers like Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Suzuki, Kia, Nissan, Ford and Geely are not the only companies racing to produce city cars. Luxury car makers, as mentioned earlier, are also launching their own city cars to meet the market demand. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, September 30, 2011 

Condominium market is still buoyant

TALL buildings or skyscrapers are continuing to fill Jakarta’s skyline. While tall buildings in the capital city previously comprised hotels and office buildings, now “vertical residences” or condominiums are growing in number.

Indeed, most Jakartans still prefer living in landed houses, but it is highly possible that in the not-too-distant future living in an apartment will become more common due to limited land availability. Therefore, apartments are simply a solution to the problem of limited land in Indonesia’s major cities, especially in Jakarta.

Podomoro City general marketing manager Alvin Andronicus said that the people of Greater Jakarta had to get used to the idea of living in apartments, and when they did, the market segment of apartments and condominiums would expand. It would also be a solution to the problem of limited land availability.

“Living in an apartment is actually more practical and is less costly. Apartments are closer to centers of activities so one does not have to face the daily problem of traffic congestion. Thus, I think, the government should encourage the public to switch to apartments,” he told the media.

He further said that apartments in various price ranges, catering to the middle- and upper-classes, were available. A number of other developers besides Agung Podomoro are in the midst of constructing superblocks for efficient lifestyle for the people of Greater Jakarta.

According to research conducted by Cushman & Wakefield Indonesia, there is an increased supply of apartments. Along with the country’s positive economic condition, developers are rushing to launch new condominium projects, some of which were planned in 2010. “The market is still able to absorb the additional number of units, albeit at a slower pace,” said Arief Rahardjo, associate director, research and advisory.

The cumulative total of condominiums built in the second quarter of 2011 increased by 81,797 units with the completion of Royal Mediterania ( Lavender Tower) and The Park Residences. Meanwhile, the completion of Latumeten Tower, City Garden and Casablanca East Residence brought the cumulative total of modest apartments to 17,164 units.

New projects launched this quarter are Sherwood Residence, Green Bay Seaview (Tower K) and Pluit Seaview in North Jakarta; The New Ambassador Suite tower, a complex comprising St. Moritz and Sky Terrace in West Jakarta; Admiralty Apartment in Fatmawati, South Jakarta; Enviro Apartment Jababeka and Grand Centerpoint in Bekasi; and Serpong Greenview in Tangerang. These projects add to the number of future condominiums to become 41,439 units and a total supply of modest or low-cost apartments to become 26,706 units.

Recently launched projects are mostly outside the CBD, especially in South Jakarta, North Jakarta and West Jakarta, as well as in areas outside Jakarta itself, such as in Bekasi and Serpong. The percentage of condominiums sold is 94.9 percent, which is relatively the same as in the previous quarter, but the number of units has increased by 8.9 percent compared to the same period in 2010. The total number of units sold is 77,627.

The presales level of future condominiums is 62.4 percent, which is an increase of 2.8 percent compared to the same period last year, meaning 25,871 units have been sold. Middle- and upper-class condominiums have the highest presales level, that is, 64.7 percent and 62.5 percent, respectively.

According to Arief, the growing number of condominiums has resulted in a decreased occupancy rate of leased condominiums. The occupancy rate has gone down from 64.3 percent in the second quarter of 2010 to 63.1 percent in the third quarter of this year. However, along with the improved economy, demand is still strong. “Most of the demand for serviced apartments and leased apartments is from local business tourists and government offices, although the majority of the tenants are still expatriates,” said Arief.

The demand for leased apartments has increased since the previous quarter as the occupancy rate has gone up from 72.2 percent in the first quarter to become 79.7 percent in the second quarter. Similarly, there has been an increase in the occupancy rate of serviced apartments, currently 75.3 percent, which is an increase of 1 percent quarter-on-quarter or 4.6 percent year-on-year. However, the occupancy rate of condominiums in Jakarta went down slightly from 65.4 percent to 65.3 percent in the second quarter of this year due to increased supply.

There has been a new supply of serviced apartments in this quarter, that is, 112 units from Bellezza Suite and 30 units at Aston Marina, bringing the total number of serviced apartments in the second quarter to 3,889 units.

Leased condominiums have also increased by 507 units, bringing the total in the second quarter to 39,887 units. Completed leased condominium projects in this quarter are Royal Mediterania Garden (Lavender tower) located on Jl Letjen S Parman and The Park Residence in Kelapa Gading. Yes, the condominium business in Jakarta is indeed still buoyant. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, September 30, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

EnviroAsia 2011 (1)

Peduli Lingkungan untuk Menciptakan Pertumbuhan Ekonomi Berkelanjutan di Asia

PESATNYA kemajuan ekonomi yang terjadi di Asia telah membuat negara-negara di kawasan ini mencapai kemakmuran yang dimpikannya selama puluhan tahun silam. Aneka kegiatan ekonomi yang intensif membutuhkan pasokan sumber daya yang sangat kuat, dan tentunya memang dimiliki negara-negara Asia ini dalam jumlah yang sangat besar. Gas alam dan minyak bumi, mineral, sumber daya manusia dan pemerintahan yang baik adalah beberapa faktor pendukung pertumbuhan ekonomi ini.

Populasi penduduk di kawasan Asia yang mencapai tiga milyar jiwa merupakan pendorong bagi benua ini untuk menjadi yang terdepan dalam kompetisi dunia. China, yang muncul sebagai kekuatan ekonomi baru, telah menunjukan pertumbuhan ekonomi yang luar biasa setiap tahunnya, yakni mencapai 10 persen. India juga telah membuktikan akan mampu menjadi negara terdepan di dunia dalam industri berat. India merupakan salah satu dari 10 negara dengan GDP tertinggi di dunia.

Namun, harus disadari bahwa kesuksesan kerap diiringi sesuatu yang harus diperhatikan. Perkembangan ekonomi yang besar telah memberikan tekanan yang besar pula pada lingkungan dan sumber daya yang ada. Meningkatnya tekanan karbondioksida di atmosfir, polusi udara, pemanasan global, penggundulan hutan, dan pembuangan limbah; diperburuk dengan ekspansi ke perkotaan di kawasan Asia, terutama China dan India yang perlu segera dibenahi. Pada dasarnya, kota-kota yang berkembang pesat di Asia perlu meningkatkan efektifitas sumber daya untuk menciptakan pengembangan yang berkelanjutan.

Beragam bentuk limbah – limbah padat, polusi udara dan air yang terkontaminasi – telah meningkatkan ongkos yang cukup tinggi terkait kesehatan masyarakat dan efisiensi ekonomi yang mengancam kemakmuran kawasan. Perkembangan lebih lanjut yang berbasis karbon seperti batubara dan minyak bumi, perlu segera dievaluasi untuk memastikan bahwa penggunaan energi ini tidak berdampak pada peningkatan gas rumah kaca, yang berimbas pada perubahan iklim global. Sejalan dengan itu, peningkatan efisiensi sumber daya merupakan hal penting untuk mencapai pembangunan berkelanjutan di Asia-Pasifik.

China, melompati Amerika Serikat, saat ini menjadi produsen limbah terbesar di dunia, dan pemerintahnya berharap dapat mengurangi 30persen limbah tersebut melalui teknologi pengolahan limbah pada 2030 mendatang. Negara-negara di akwasan Asia Tenggara dihadapkan pada masalah tingginya biaya untuk memperbaiki sistem pengolahan limbah mereka.

Untuk mengatasi masalah ini, dan untuk memperlihatkan peralatan yang inovatif, teknologi, dan jasa dalam pengolahan limbah, air, dan polusi udara, EnviroAsia kelima akan hadir tahun ini di Suntec Singapora, dari 22 hingga 25 November 2011.

EnviroAsia2011 merupakan pergelaran penting bagi para praktisi industri, profesional, dan pemerintah. Teknologi-teknologi baru dalam pengembangan berkelanjutan, seperti pengolahan sumber daya air yang berkelnajutan, tatanan ramah lingkungan, pemilihan produk dan jasa yang tahan lama, tatanan pabrik yang berkelanjutan, model dan solusi bagi pabrik-pabrik agar memiliki tingkat konsumsi energi yang rendah, dan teknologi-teknologi baru dalam pemberdayaan energi akan ditampilkan dalam pameran ini.

Bersamaan dengan EnviroAsia2011, Pengembangan Berkelanjutan dan Konferensi pengolahan Limbah akan diadakan selama dua hari dan akan membahas beberapa isu terkait lingkungan, tantangan dan solusi dalam praktek dan inovasi efisiensi energi yang berkelanjutan.

Bisnis di Indonesia dan pihak-pihak berwenang yang berusaha mencari kesempatan dan solusi terkait industri mereka akan memperoleh manfaat luar biasa saat menghadiri acara ini karena mereka akan memperoleh kesempatan untuk melihat lebih dulu teknologi-teknologi terbaru yang akan membawa mereka pada kemajuan yang berkelanjutan, kepastian akan besarnya pertumbuhan yang akan mereka raih di masa mendatang.

Silahkan klik website EnviroAsia2011 di untuk mendaftar sebagai pengunjung atau delegasi yang menghadiri konferensi.

Kompas, 22 September 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ndalem Ngabean, Yogyakarta

Pulang ke kotamu, ada setangkup haru dalam rindu
Masih seperti dulu
Tiap sudut menyapaku bersahabat penuh selaksa makna
Terhanyut aku akan nostalgi saat kita sering luangkan waktu
Nikmati bersama suasana Yogya

LAGU Kla Project tersebut pasti mempunyai kesan tersendiri bagi orang-orang Yogya atau yang pernah tinggal di Yogya. Setidaknya itu pula yang saya rasakan ketika menginjakkan kaki di Kota Pelajar tersebut, libur Lebaran lalu.

Saya memang tidak hanya mengenang masa kuliah di Universitas Gajah Mada, tapi bersama keluarga ingin menikmati suasana Yogyakarta, yang pastinya berbeda dengan di Jakarta.

Memang di kendaraan menuju kota kenangan tersebut, sejumlah rencana telah saya tetapkan, misalnya berwisata kuliner ke daerah Wijilan, yang terkenal dengan gudegnya, makanan khas yang menjadi ikon Yogyakarta. Malioboro tentu menjadi salah satu sasaran, juga alun-alun yang bersebelahan dengan Kraton.

Beruntung saya dan keluarga bisa menginap di heritage hotel, namanya Ndalem Ngabean, yang beralamat di Jl. Ngadisuryan No. 6. Hotel baru memang, baru beroperasi tiga bulan, dan kamarnya siap disewakan cuma tujuh buah. Menilik alamatnya, hotel ini masih di kawasan Kraton Yogyakarta.

Kraton Yogyakarta yang juga dikenal sebagai Kasultanan Ngayogyakarta berdiri tahun 1755. Bangunan Kraton ini dipagari beteng yang luas yang di dalamnya ada bangunan kecil dan disebut sebagai pojok beteng. Di dalam bangunan beteng selain ada bangunan Kraton, tempat tinggal raja, di sekitarnya ada sejumlah kampung sebagai tempat bermukim penduduk, yang pada zaman dulu merupakan abdi dalem Kraton.

Namun pada perkembangan berikutnya, orang yang tinggal di dalam beteng Kraton tidak harus sebagai abdi dalem, tetapi bisa orang biasa yang bertempat tinggal di sana lantaran telah membeli tanah berikut bangunan rumah dari pemilik sebelumnya, Kraton di lingkungan, dalam istilah lokalnya, "njeron beteng".

Ndalem Ngabean, yang asal tahu saja dulunya merupakan kediaman pengusaha Probosutedjo, termasuk yang berada di lingkungan “njeron beteng”. Jadi, tidak ada salahnya, meski hanya semalam, bergaya sejenak seperti keluarga Sultan. Juga tidak salah kalau hotel dan juga restoran (yang sudah terlebih dahulu ada) menyebut diri sebagai “The Most Elegant Prince House for Lunch & Dinner”.

Arsitektur Ndalem Ngabean sangat Jawa, lengkap dengan pendoponya. Tidak hanya itu bangunan dan lingkungannya boleh dibilang sebagai duplikatnya Keraton, bahkan hingga ke bagian detilnya, mulai ukiran bahkan warnanya yang dominan hijau. Meski bergaya klasik, bukan berarti fasilitasnya juga kuno, karena Ndalem Ngabean dilengkapi dengan fasilitas modern – lengkap dengan kolam renangnya yang terkesan masa kini.

Ndalem Ngaben, selain berada di dalam kompleks Istana Kraton Yogyakarta, juga berdekatan dengan Tamansari, Museum Sonobudaya, Museum Gamelan, dan Museum Kereta. Tentu saja dekat dengan Pasar Ngasem, pasar tradisional Yogyakarta yang tidak dijumpai di kota-kota lain. Di sini tidak hanya ada makanan bakpia saja – yang sudah populer secara nasional, tapi juga yang lebih tradisional, seperti clorot, apem, semar mendem, hawuk-hawuk, lemper, gebleg dari Kulonprogo, yangko dari Kotagede.

Sebagai kota wisata, Yogyakarta yang kini makin modern – sudah mempunyai mal mewah lengkap dengan Starbuksnya, sebenarnya masih banyak menyimpan berbagai pesona yang belum seluruhnya tergali.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Wine for Asia 2011: Lucrative & Palatable

WORLD’S wine industry is counting Asia with the phenomenal increase in wine consumption that has built lucrative markets in the region.

With the world supply of premium wine outstripping demand, and the custom of wine drinking is rapidly gaining ground in Asian countries, many wine exporters are eyeing to establish new markets in Asia. In Indonesia, the trend has the tendency to increase with more and more people discovering the pleasure of drinking wine.

To give the world a better understanding of Asian markets, Wine For Asia (WFA) returns for its ninth annual event featuring 370 exhibitors from 23 countries and 10 country pavilions.

Scheduled to take place on 27-28 October 2011 at Suntec Singapore, the esteemed WFA 2011 will present as many as 3,000 trade professionals from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, India, China, Hong Kong and more. 

WFA 2011 is organised by MP International and Wine Resources and will house over 5,000 sqm exhibition showcasing a broad array of wines from Australia, Chile, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Singapore and Spain. The event is expected to attract more than 4,000 visitors worldwide.

“The two-day event truly provides opportunities to meet reputable distributors from Asia while building network with high wine society members,” Malcolm Tham, programme director of WFA, says. “It’s one way to facilitate the drive to boost the wine business for wine trade.”

In addition to showcasing myriad collections of variety wines from across the world, the event will hold programs such as Bordeaux and Italian wine master classes by wine experts such as Antonio Borco and Louis Radman. The wine master classes will feature wines from France, Australia, Chile, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa, Greece and Germany.

There will also be product launch of Italian wines and F&B industry forum by FBMA Singapore. The forum presents eminent industry players to share their experience while taking participants into an insight of F&B industry outlook.

Among the interesting highlights at WFA 2011 is Wine Style Asia Award (WSAA). First launched in 2004, WSAA has gained much recognition. “And this year event will present 500 entries from overseas wineries and local importers and distributors. WSAA will confer the awards at a high-profile gala dinner,” Tham adds.

An elite panel of distinguished international and regional wine experts will be the judge to select award-winning wines in The Wine Style Asia Award (WSAA), the wine competition held in conjunction with WFA 2011.

Headed by John Chua, president of Chinelli Consultancy Pte Ltd, the judging panel consists of eight judges. They are Subhash Arora, editor of delWine, India; Cheong Hai Poh, president of F&B Managers’ Association (FBMA), Singapore; Pairach Intaput, Thai Sommelier and Gastronomie, Thailand; Thomas Ling from Entwine, Malaysia; Maria Isabel Mijares, founder and chairwoman of Equipo Team SL; To Viet, wine educator from Toviet’s Wine Cellar, Vietnam; and Yohan Handoyo, wine director of Decanter Wine House, Indonesia.

Yohan will be the first Indonesian judge ever to present at WFA.

Another new highlight at WFA 2011 is the introduction of the Southeast Asia Wine Pioneer Recognition Award.

At the Southeast Wine Pioneer Recognition Award Appreciation Lunch, awards will be given to recognise and honour pioneers who have given significant contributions to the region’s wine industry in the 1970s.

“Over the last 10 years, the wine market has matured greatly and WFA has been at the forefront of this development since the first exhibition in 2003. We wanted to take this opportunity – before they retire – to pay tribute to the wine pioneers who have made significant and important contributions to the growth of the wine industry in the region,” Tham says referring to the objective of the accolade.

WFA 2011 also features ‘Wine Fiesta’, a one-day extension to Wine for Asia, which will be held on 29 October 2011. It’s a rare opportunity for wine enthusiasts to experience the world of wines.

This year, WFA 2011 will have a fun program called ‘Indulgence Singapore”. Taking place on 28 – 29 October 2011, this weekend escape is designed for those who want to attend the inaugural Wine Fiesta.

F&B Familiarisation Tour will be organised in the evening of 28 October. Started with F&B Safari Tour, the tour will include stops at Singapore’s popular night spots such as Clarke Quay and Dempsey Hill, taking participants to blend with the enjoyment of sumptuous food and fine wine while getting an insight into the latest F&B concepts in Singapore.

WFA 2011 has received strong support from local government and trade agencies such as International Enterprise Singapore, Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau and Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association.

It has also received endorsements from international trade agencies such as Aicep Global Portugal; Australian Trade Commission; Austria Wine Marketing Board; German Embassy in Singapore; Hungarian Investment and Trade Development Agency; International Bartenders Association; Italian Trade Commission; SOPEXA, the agency for the promotion of French food, wine and spirits; and ViniPortugal, a trade association that promotes Portuguese wines to domestic and international markets.

Prestige Magazine, September 2011

Monday, September 05, 2011

The 10 Favorite Tourism Destinations in Indonesia

WHILE a holiday abroad is indeed delightful, many Indonesians forget that domestic tours are equally unbeatable. Remember, Indonesia is the largest archipelagic country in the world with over 17,000 islands and each certainly has its own unique plus points.

Indonesia has five large islands : Sumatra with an area of 473,606 square kilometers, Java (132,107 square kilometers), Kalimantan (the world’s third largest island, 539,460 square kilometers, Sulawesi (189,216 square kilometers) and Papua with an area of 421,981 square kilometers.

The following are the 10 favorite tourism destinations in Indonesia:

1. Jakarta
Jakarta is Indonesia’s center of government and with a population of more than 11 million it is both an enchanting metropolitan city and a tourism destination. Jakarta has complete facilities and infrastructure to support it as a metropolitan city. Some of the tourism destinations and recreation centers available in the city are as follows: Sunda Kelapa port, various museums, National Monument (Monas), Ragunan Zoo, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah and Imax theater “Keong Emas” (Golden Snail), Senayan Park, Fantasy World, Ancol Dream Park with its Sea World and a lot more.

2. Bali
Tourism in Bali is one of the most advanced and developed in the country as it has various tourism sites, including natural, historical and cultural attractions. The island’s natural tourist attractions include the panoramic Kintamani crater lake, Kuta beach, Legian, Sanur, Tanah Lot, Nusa Panida, Nusa Dua, Karang Asem, Batur Lake, Bedugul Lake, Sangieh conservation area, West Bali National Park and the Menjangan Island Sea Park.

The cultural tourist attractions include 83 sites, such as the art related tourism in Ubud, the sacred site of Tanah Lot, the Barong ceremony in Jimbaran and numerous art shops and galleries that are cropping up over the entire island. Bali also has tourist sites of historical value, such as the heritage of Karangasem, Klungkung and Buleleng kingdoms.

3. Yogyakarta
In Indonesia’s tourism map Yogyakarta takes second position after Bali. It has a variety of tourist attractions and the province has well developed tourist facilities and infrastructure. There are no less than 70,000 handicraft industries here in addition to other supporting facilities, such as accommodation and various means of transportation. There are countless restaurants and foodstalls/vendors, travel agents and tourist guides as well as tourism security force locally known as Bhayangkara Wisata.

Yogyakarta also has a number of unique tourism destinations, such as the Sultan’s Palace (Kraton), Prambanan temple and silver craft work in Kotagede. Yogyakarta indeed presents a wide range of tourist attractions for visitors.

4. West Java
The West Javanese people are known for their religiosity, rich cultural heritage and traditional values. This province also has various natural, cultural and historical tourist attractions. Among the natural ones are: Puncak, Salabintana, Lembang, Tangkuban Perahu, Papandayan mountain, Bogor Park, Juanda Forest Park in Bandung, Gunung Gede National Park and Pangrango, Ujung Kulon National Park, Pelabuhan Ratu beach at Sukabumi, Pangandaran beach at Ciamis and Carita at Anyer.

Some of the historical-cum-cultural tourist sites are Cangkuang temple at Leles, Garut, the Baduy village and Sisingaan Tasikmalaya, and historical sites, such as Kasepuan Palace in Cirebon, Old Banten in Naga village, Serang, the stone age heritage (Megalithicum) at Cipari, Kuningan, and the Boscha observatory in Bandung.

5. East Java
Among the natural tourist attractions available in East Java are Sarangan Lake, Tretes, Mount Bromo National Park, Tengger, Ketanggungan mountain at Arjuna, Mount Semeru, Purwo forest and Baturetno in Malang, Pasir Putih beach at Situbondo, Popoh beach, Pacitan beach and Ngliyep beach.

The province’s cultural-cum-historical tourist sites include the following temples: Panataran, Jawi, Jago and Singosari in Malang. There is the Karapan Sapi (bull race) on the island of Madura, labuhan ceremony along the beaches of the southern coast, the traditional reog ritual at Ponorogo and ludruk (folk theater in which all parts are played by men).

Historical sites include the grave sites of Muslim religious leaders, such as: Sunan Ampel, Sunan Giri, Sunan Bonang, Sunan Mojoagung, Sunan Drajat and then there is the tomb of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, in Blitar. There is also Trowulan, the remnants of the Majapahit kingdom as well as the Empu Tantular museum.

6. Central Java
Central Java is also rich in tourist attractions. The natural attractions are: Tawangmangu, Baturaden, Dieng plateau, Kopeng, Penyu Bay in Cilacap, Kartini beach in Jepara, Widuri beach in Pemalang, Petruk cave, Lawa cave, Jatijajar cave, swallow nests in Kebumen and Nusa Kambangan. Among its cultural-cum-historical sites are the Borobudur, Prambanan, Gedong Songo and Sukuh temples.

7. West Sumatra
Although this province’s tourism potential is not as large as Bali or Yogyakarta it still has huge opportunities to develop its tourism potential.

West Sumatra’s natural tourist attractions include: Ngarai Sianok at Bukit Tinggi, the following lakes: Maninjau, Diatas, Dibawah and Singkarak and a waterfall in Anai valley, then there is Ambun Pagi, Carolina beach, Bumpus beach, Kerinci Seblat National Park (TNKS) and the Singgalam volcano. The cultural attractions include the Minang culture and traditions at Padang Panjang while the historical sites are caves inhabited by the Japanese during the war at Agam and Pagarujung Kingdom Palace at Batusangkar.

8. Riau and the Riau islands
Riau has much potential as a tourism destination although it has not been developed to the maximum, such as its Batam and Bintan islands and other areas. Most tourists visit the islands of Batam, Tanjung Balai Karimun, Tanjung Uban and Tanjung Pinang.

Meanwhile the province of Riau islands is the country’s second gateway after Bali. Some of the tourism sites available here are its beaches: Melur and Nongsa at Batam city, Belawan in Karimun regency, Lagoi, Tanjung Berakit, Trikora and Bintan Leisure Park in Bintan regency. Natuna regency is famous for its diving and snorkeling spots.

9. North Sulawesi
This province has huge potential for its natural, marine and cultural tourism attractions. Some of its assets are: Bunaken National Sea Park and Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park. The province also features numerous panoramic locations.

Being the northernmost province and on the border of the Pacific Ocean this province has a huge potential of becoming the regional and global economic gateway for the country. Thus the province also has ample opportunities to develop international cooperation with foreign countries, especially with nearby countries such as the Philippines and Malaysia.

10. West Nusa Tenggara
Mataram is the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province. It has land, sea and air transportation. Central Lombok is one of its tourist destinations. It is only 30 kilometers from Selaparang Mataram airport. Its pristine, exotic beaches face the Indian Ocean, not to be missed by surfing lovers.

The Sasak tribe living at Sade and Tansang-Angsang villages continues to practice and preserve its ancient traditions. Traditional weaving at Sukarare, earthenware goods at Penujak, handicrafts made from ketak and rattan at Beleka village all support the area’s tourism industry.

Then there are the numerous unique, traditional, magical rites performed by the Lombok people which also draw tourists. All tourist destinations in Central Lombok are reachable via land transportation.

(Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, September 05, 2011