ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Golf Wonderful signs Bali tracks; APGS
to Jakarta; Garuda adds golf-rich routes
Nirwana Bali 7
The iconic 7th at Nirwana Bali GC, with Tanah Lot temple just off shore.
DENPASAR, Bali, Indonesia -- Bali's top golf properties, some of the finest courses in all of Asia-Pacific, have committed en masse to the new golf travel cooperative, Golf Wonderful Indonesia. At the same time, the region's premier golf industry event has scheduled its 2013 incarnation for Indonesia's capital, while the national airline, Garuda, will expand routes to golf-hungry destinations in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, including daily Melbourne-Denpasar routes beginning 1 April.
"Feels a bit like the stars are aligning," said Harmony Thomas, president director of PT Panorama Wisata Nusantara, the tour operator managing all in-bound traffic for Golf Wonderful Indonesia (www.golfwonderfulindonesia.com). "From the start, our priority has been the recognition of Indonesia as a top-shelf golf destination. All these developments at once reinforce and facilitate that fact."
Launched in August 2012, Golf Wonderful Indonesia has gathered these partner courses, and hotels, in order to provide custom golf travel packages that leverage the country's unique standing as a golf destination both exotic and affordable. Golf Wonderful has methodically worked its way down the Archipelago, first adding courses and hotel properties in Jakarta, then Yogyakarta and Surabaya, and now Bali. The new additions include:
* Nirwana Bali GC, Tanah Lot -- Perhaps Greg Norman's finest design effort and part of the tony Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort.
* New Kuta Golf, Pecatu -- A cliff-top stunner designed by Golfplan in 2008, and good enough to host the Indonesian Open a year later.
* Bali Handara Kosaido CC, Bedugul -- Laid out in the crater of an extinct volcano and ranked for many years among the Top 50 courses in the world.
* Bali National Golf Resort, Nusa Dua -- Formerly the Bali Golf & Country Club, this seaside track will reopen this spring following a major renovation.
* Grand Bali Beach GC, Sanur -- The most convenient golf on the Island of the Gods, located in the heart of Denpasar's vibrant resort district.
"With the Bali courses on board, all that remains are the many fine courses located south of Jakarta in the Bogor Highlands, and we expect them to officially partner up Golf Wonderful this summer," Thomas explained.
In the meantime, the Asia Pacific Golf Group announced on 1 March that it will bring the Asia Pacific Golf Summit to the Shangri-La Hotel Jakarta 5-7 November 2013. Some 500 delegates comprising golf course owners, operators, general managers, course superintendents and members of the trade are expected to attend, following successful Summits in Brunei (2012) and Pattaya, Thailand (2011).
"APGS is now in its seventh year and it has matured into the best business-to-business and knowledge event for golf in Asia Pacific," said Mike Sebastian, CEO of the Asia Pacific Golf Group, owner and producer of the Summit. "We have now come to a nation that is the future of golf in the region."
Full details re. APGS 2013 will be available after 15 March via its web site, www.golfconference.org
For its part, Garuda will further expose to Indonesia thousands of travelers, golf and otherwise, upon reintroduction of non-stop Boeing 777-300 flights from Jakarta to London Gatwick in the fourth quarter of 2013. The national carrier will also open two more international routes this year linking Indonesia's capital city to Auckland, Brisbane and Perth, starting in June.
These Australian and European expansions are part of Garuda's Quantum Leap strategy designed to boost its competiveness by 2015. The carrier has extended this effort to the arrival experience.
"On long haul flights with Garuda, passengers get immigration clearance on the plane before landing and hence do not have to queue or anything upon arrival -- just straight off the plane and straight out to collect your bags," explained Thomas. "We experienced this the other day, coming back from Japan, and it's great. They have two immigration officers on each flight who clear everyone on the plane before landing. This is something golf travelers should be aware of. It makes Garuda Indonesia a choice airline for inbound tourists."
In addition to the daily Melbourne-Bali flights starting April 1, Garuda will reinstate direct daily flights to Jakarta from Perth beginning June 28, joining its five-times-weekly Sydney-Jakarta service and four-times weekly Melbourne-Jakarta schedule. Garuda will schedule the new flights between Jakarta and Perth to link with code-share partner Etihad Airways' services from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta.
See more on the Garuda route expansion at www.golfwonderfulindonesia.com, the definitive source of information on golf travel in Indonesia. This portal is complemented by interactive media components including the Golf Wonderful Blog (http://www.golfwonderfulindonesia.com/blog), the GWI Facebook page (www.facebook.com/golfwonderfulindonesia) and Twitter account (follow GWI @golfwonderful). For more information on Golf Wonderful Indonesia, call +62 21.536.4469 or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
New Kuta 15
The ultra-scenic 14th and 15th at Bali's New Kuta Golf.
Contact: Hal Phillips
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