Selasa, 27 Juni 2017


 Jakarta, June 27, 2017 (Antara) - Barack Obama has fulfilled his promise to spend holidays with his family in Indonesia, which he often referred to as "pulang kampung," or homecoming.
           During his visit to Jakarta in November 2010, Obama had expressed keenness to bring his two daughters to Indonesia one day.
           Seven years later, on June 23, 2017, he along with his wife, Michele and two daughters, Malia and Sasha, aboard a Gulfstream N50JE chartered jet, finally landed at the I Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali.         
     Apart from his immediate family, Obama also brought along his stepsister Maya Soetoro and her family and some employees, with the number of people in his delegation reaching 14.
           The 44th US president was welcomed upon arrival by Bali's Governor Made Mangku Pastika, Chief of the IX/Udayana Military Command Major General Komaruddin Simanjuntak, Chief of the Denpasar Resort Police Senior Commissioner Hadi Purnomo, and Commander of the Ngurah Rai Air Base Colonel Wayan Superman.
          The Obamas plan to stay for five days until June 28 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sayan, Ubud, Gianyar District, which is located about 40 kilometers from the airport.
          This is Obama's second visit to Bali. During the first visit, he had attended the ASEAN Summit in 2011 as the US president. At that time, however, he was not accompanied by his family.
          This time, his holiday is a personal trip; hence the Indonesian authorities do not have the details of their agenda.

          The authorities will intensify security at several tourist attractions to be visited by Obama, but the measures to be adopted will be limited, and no roads will be closed, according to Col Gede Widiana, commander of the Military Command Area (Korem) 163/Wira Satya.
         Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961, Obama had spent his childhood in Indonesia from 1968 to 1972, with his mother of US origin and his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian citizen.
         He first came to this country after his mother married an Indonesian man named Lolo Soetoro, and he was glad that the people of Indonesia had quickly made him feel at home.
          Tjokorda Gede Asmara Putra Sukawati, a Balinese legislator, has lauded Obama and his family for vacationing in Bali.
          "We laud the arrival of Obama for a vacation in Bali," Sukawati stated in the Balinese capital of Denpasar on June 27.    
    He believes that Obama's vacation is a huge but free tourism promotion for Bali and would be able to help attract more foreigners to visit the island, in particular, and Indonesia, in general.
         "Moreover Barack Obama has chosen the Four Seasons Resort at Sayan, Ubud, as the accommodation. Ubud has a lot of interesting places to offer," he remarked.
        The local inhabitants of Ubud still follow the traditions and culture of Hinduism. They are highly religious and open to visitors. Ubud's natural rural environment is well preserved.
         On June 22, Obama had enjoyed rafting down the Ayung River, which is a popular tourist spot in Bali, with Michelle, Malia, and Sasha, at Banjar Dinas Karang Dalem I, Bongkasa Pertiwi Village, Abiansemal Sub-district, Badung District, as the starting point for the rafting expedition.
         Obama was spotted wearing a white T-shirt, sunglasses, a red velvet jacket, and a yellow helmet. On the occasion, Michelle and her daughters were spotted paddling down the Ayung River. The rafting ended at the rear side of the Four Seasons Hotel.
         They had earlier visited the Agung Rai Museum of Arts in Ubud and the Jatiluwih rice fields.
         The family also took a walk through the lush green Jatiluwih rice terrace, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site.
         The Indonesian Tourism Travel Bureau Association (Asita) has expressed hope that the visit of former US president Obama to Bali would help attract foreign tourists to the island.
         "We hope that the number of tourists from the US to Bali would increase," Bali's Asita Chairman Ketut Ardana stated on June 27.
         The visits of world leaders to Bali will help to promote the island internationally since they are covered by the media, he noted.
         Their visits to Bali will also draw other leaders to select Bali as their holiday destination, he added.
         Currently, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his family are also spending a five-day vacation in Bali until June 30.
         On Mar 4-12, Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and his over 1,000-member entourage holidayed in Bali. The Royal visit served as a major promotion for the resort island.
         Meanwhile, tourists from the US usually stay for more than a week in Bali, and they prefer five-star hotels, he remarked.
         The number of US tourists to Bali had reached 64,042 during the January-April period, or an increase of 19.7 percent as compared to that recorded during the same period last year.
         The US stands sixth among the list of 10 countries contributing the largest number of foreign tourists to Bali. From January to April 2017, a total of 1,817,772 foreign tourists had visited Bali.
         A total of 511 thousand tourists from China had visited Bali during the period between January and April, followed by 353 thousand from Australia, and 74 thousand from Japan.

(T.F001/A/BESSR/A. Abdussalam) 27-06-2017

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