Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bali builds modern port for cruise ships

The Jakarta Post

Antara, Denpasar | Thu, 05/15/2008 6:31 PM

A modern port aimed at attracting more foreign cruise ships is under construction in Karangasem district, Bali, Bali transportation agency head Putu Sujana said here Thursday.

Once the port is completed, foreign cruise ships passing Indonesian waters could schedule a few days for a port call in Bali, Sujana said.

"Luxury cruise ships carrying tourists from other countries to Singapore are expected to come to Bali once the modern, permanent port is ready."

Sujana said at least 300 luxury cruise ships arrived in Singapore every year, each carrying around 1,500 to 2,000 tourists.

"Floating hotels on their way to a number of countries in Asia usually pass Indonesian waters. They are expected, therefore, to stop in Bali when the port is ready."

Even if only a half of the 300 cruise ships stop in Bali, it would have a positive impact on tourism in the province, he said.

Financial support for the port is coming from the central government, Bali provincial administration and Karangasem district administration, Sujana said.

Construction is expected to finish in 2009.

At least 17 cruise ships with thousands of foreign tourists stopped at the old port in Karangasem in 2007 and 15 cruise ships in 2006.

One of them was the Italian Costa Marina with 496 tourists, which anchored at Karangasem port for two days.

Before the Bali bombing tragedy, said Sujana, more than 20 cruise ships stopped in Bali and in 1995 alone 70 of them with hundreds of thousands of tourists arrived at the resort island.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Govt goes all out for Visit Indonesia Year

Mariani Dewi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 05/14/2008 10:32 AM 

What do the Balinese do with deceased royals? How can you see a flower show without splashing out for a flight to Pasadena, California? Where can you test your athletic endurance in a triathlon?

Indonesia provides the answers to all these questions during this year's Visit Indonesia program, according to Sapta Nirwandar, marketing director at the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

In Bali, Hindus cremate the deceased in a detailed ritual, called the Ngaben. This year the ritual will include royal members for the first time since 1979.

For flowers, visitors can go to the city of Tomohon in North Sulawesi.

"We will hold the Tomohon Flower Festival in June. If we keep pushing, it is possible that it will become a big flower festival, perhaps like the one in Pasadena," Sapta said.

Bintan Island in Riau province, meanwhile, on top of its beaches and resorts, will host a triathlon this year, in addition to regular golf competitions.

And, according to Sapta, these represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the special events planned for Visit Indonesia Year 2008.

Batam Island, for example, will host a vegetarian food festival in June that is expected to draw visitors from nearby Singapore.

The government, Sapta said, is using any and all promotional means to make Visit Indonesia Year a success.

The hit movie Ayat-Ayat Cinta, for example, has been used to market Indonesia to Muslims in neighboring Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.

Special packages are being planned where anyone buying a certain amount of Indonesian coffee in Beijing during the Olympics will get discounts on trips here.

Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft and one of the richest people in the world, during his visit to Jakarta last week became an instant tourism promoter, mentioning the Visit Indonesia campaign in a speech while wearing a promotional pin on his shirt.

The government also sees the Visit Indonesia Year program as a trigger to get regional stakeholders more involved in promoting their tourism offerings.

"We want to get the regions to start their own tourism efforts and improve their infrastructure for tourism," Sapta said.

Provinces like Riau, South Sumatra and North Sulawesi have already started their own campaigns. Jambi, Lampung and South Kalimantan are expected to follow next year.

The government has set a target of attracting 7 million visitors this year, which would be a 1.5 million increase from 2007. In the first quarter, it has seen an increase of 15 percent in tourist arrivals.

The World Economic Forum said in a March report that Indonesia failed to provide good transportation infrastructure and international-standard hygiene and sanitation systems, deterring tourists from the country.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Indonesia, Australia national libraries to cooperate

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The National Library of Indonesia is to cooperate with the National Library of Australia by exchanging book collections, catalog notes and consultancy services, Indonesia`s chief librarian said.

"We have also cooperated in the same way with the national libraries of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore," National Library of Indonesia head Dady P Rachmananta said after signing a memorandum of understanding on the cooperation here Tuesday.

He said, the national library was unable to collect all books published throughout the world , so it had to cooperate with the natinal libraries of other countries.

Dady said, the cooperation would benefit the National Library as it would thereby be able to collect various books published in Australia as well as in all regions in Indonesia.

Although Law No 4/1990 on printed and recorded publications required publishers to submit two copies of each book to the national library, the regulation was since the adoption of regional often violated, he said.

Under the cooperation with the National Library of Australia, the National Library of Indonesia would be enabled to collect books from all regions.

"The Australia library has the funds to travel to all regions in Indonesia and buy the books. Then, they would give one copy of each book they have bought to the National Library of Indonesia," Dady said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director General of the National Library of Australia, Amelia McKenzie, said both libraries had been cooperating closely since 2004.

At the time, the Australian library helped libraries in Aceh to re-collect their books and provide reading material to refugees from the tsunami that hit the province in late December 2004.

McKenzie said, the National Library of Australia had the largest collection of books in the Indonesian language as it was receiving some 4,000 Indonesian books every year.

Kota museum tells of past tortures

Warief Djajanto Basorie, The Jakarta Post, Tue, 05/06/2008 9:40

Picture Jakarta during the Dutch colonial era and imagine how people were tried and punished at the time. You can visualize it from the balcony of the Jakarta History Museum in Kota Tua, the Old Town quarter, in West Jakarta.

The building was originally the Stadhuis, or the City Hall, of the colonial period. Today, if you stand on the balcony and face north, you will see the gray stone square below you, known as Taman Fatahillah. The square honors Fatahillah, the commander of the Muslim Demak army which conquered Sunda Kalapa on June 22, 1527.

He renamed the coastal Sunda kingdom Jayakarta, or Town of Triumph, after defeating its king. When the Dutch eventually took control, they renamed the area Batavia.

At the square's center is the town fountain; not the original, but a remake. The square was not just the prime meeting point for the town folk, it was also where public executions were held.

The judges would stand on the balcony to witness their verdicts carried out. Behind the balcony on the wall is an oil panel depicting King Solomon's trial.

The painting portrays Solomon wearing a crown and a red cape, sitting on his throne passing judgment on two women arguing over a baby.

The artwork was presumably created to imbue judges with a sense of fairness and humanity. However, what the painting tried to inspire and the reality of the judicial system were worlds apart.

The most infamous execution was perhaps that of Pieter Erberveld on April 22, 1722. Erberveld was the son of a German landowner and Asian mother. Erberveld became one of the richest men in Batavia but could not get into the milieu of the powerful because he was Eurasian.

Erberveld got into a property row with the then governor general Zwaardecroon. The governor general owned two lots of land separated by a parcel belonging to Erberveld. Despite numerous acts of intimidation, Erberveld refused to sell his property to Zwaardecroon.

The account is detailed in a book on the history of the museum, Dari Stadhuis Sampai Museum, (From City Hall to Museum), by Hans Bonke and Anne Handojo. As you turn the pages, the story becomes more grim, even gruesome.

In December, 1721, the governor general received a report from a slave that Erberveld was purportedly plotting with a Javanese prince, Raden Kartadria, to murder the Dutch on the first day of the New Year.

The plan was that Erberveld would become the overlord of Batavia and Kartadria to rule the outskirts.

Both men were arrested and tortured at City Hall. The governor general had them tried before a tribunal of his own executives, bypassing the normal court process. The tribunal could not find hard evidence of a planned uprising.

Despite finding no smoking gun, the accused were declared guilty based on their torture-inflicted confessions. Erberveld was pinned to a cross with meat cleavers. His gut was ripped open and his heart torn out.

As if that were not enough, Erberveld was quartered, mirroring the fate of Guy Fawkes, the Englishman convicted of conspiring to blow up parliament houses in London in 1606.

Erberveld's four body parts were left to the birds to feast on.

The authorities did not stop there. They demolished Erberveld's house and erected a stone slab placing a skull on top. The slab carried a chilling message in block letters chiseled into the stone in Dutch and in Javanese script.

It warned the public not to commit what "traitor Pieter Erberveld" did. Visitors can see the two-meter-high slab in the grassy back court of the museum today.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Japanese consulate to hold ceramics Exhibition in Surabaya

Surabaya, East Java (ANTARA News) - The Japanese consulate general here is to hold a Japanese ceramic product exhibition in Surabaya from May 5 through 18, 2008, a spokesman said.

The exhibition will be held in a star-rated hotel in the Embong Malang area in cooperation with the Japan Foundation, Arvil Syahadat of the consulate general said here on Saturday.

"The exposition will be part of a series of activities being held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Japan-Indonesia diplomatic relations," he said.

Syahadat said ceramics have been one of Japan`s art products for a long time and continue to be developed and appreciated up till now.

"The ceramics to be displayed in the exhibition do not bear only artistic value but are also of practical use such as dishes, flower pots, cups and teapots," he added.

According to Arvil, in the current anniversary celebration activities held to commemorate the relations between the two countries, various arts exhibitions and cultural activities had been held.

He said the activities were started in January and were not only held in Jakarta and Yoyakarta but also in other major Indonesian cities.

Goethe Institute fosters cultural interaction

Tantri Yuliandini, The Jakarta Post

When considering a venue for arts and cultural events in Jakarta, the Goethe Institut should not be overlooked. Conveniently located in the Menteng area in Central Jakarta, the German cultural center boasts one of the most technologically advanced auditoriums in the city.

Goethe Institut Jakarta's auditorium -- the GoetheHaus -- boasts the capacity to seat 301 people, and with its two 16-millimeter projectors and five-by-six-meter screen, it is no wonder that it annually hosts the Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFFest).

Opened in 2002, the GoetheHaus is ideal for chamber music concerts, choirs, theater and dance performances, film screenings, as well as lectures and seminars. Photography, graphic and poster exhibitions can also be held in the GoetheHaus's gallery.

"It's been quite a privilege to have this kind of auditorium here in Jakarta," Goethe Institut Jakarta's director Peter J. Bumke told The Jakarta Post in an interview recently. He explained that since most Goethe Instituts were located in densely populated cities, a venue of this scale was rare.

In Jakarta, the Goethe Institut is housed on Jl. Sam Ratulangi in the former Deutsche Internationale Schule (DIS), which moved to Bumi Serpong Damai in Tangerang.

Bumke -- who is also regional director for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand -- said that the GoetheHaus had since acted as a meeting place for artists from Germany and Indonesia to interact, "(which) underpin our understanding of how cultural exchanges should work, not as showcasing but interaction," he explained.

Interaction between cultures, Germany and Indonesia in particular, is exactly what the Goethe Institut is all about.

First established in the country in 1963 to promote German language and culture, Goethe Institut operates under an umbrella agreement with Germany's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the other hand, the Institut is also given free reign in coordinating its own affairs, Bumke said.

"The Germans never thought it wise to have a cultural institution too closely linked with the government. We are simply an independent association and we are in contact with the government, but we run cultural policies according to our own standards," he explained.

Goethe Institut's activities generally fall into three areas -- language classes, cultural programs and library information services -- of which German language classes are an important factor.

"Jakarta has always been the largest Goethe Institut in the region because of the size of its language department," Bumke said.

Since the 1950s, Indonesian students have looked to Germany for education, especially in the field of technology, engineering and architecture and, to date, there are at least 18,000 Indonesians who have studied in Germany.

The success stories of these early German alumni became the reason for more and more Indonesians wanting to study there. Bumke said that there are about 800 students currently studying at Goethe Institut Jakarta, with about 70 percent wanting to take up studies in Germany.

Besides the relatively cheap costs -- education in Germany is heavily subsidized by the government -- another draw for Indonesian students is that now more German universities are offering courses in English.

"So what we do now here is that we increasingly offer German courses for Indonesian students who might follow a course in Germany in English, but who would still need some German to make their way around," Bumke said.

Goethe Institut Jakarta also holds teacher's training courses and seminars for some 700 teachers of German at high school level and 160 university lecturers of German in Indonesia.

While academic cooperation and government scholarships are organized by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Goethe Institut also provides two scholarships a year for students who have studied German for at least two years and those who are cultural workers, to learn the language in Germany for two months.

Another function of Goethe Institut is the library information services. The Goethe Institut library houses a collection of more than 8,000 books, video and DVDs and music CDs related to Germany and German culture.

By providing subsidies to local publishers, Goethe Institut's translation program aims to make important academic writing, high-quality fiction, children's and youth literature, and selected non-fiction works available to a non-German speaking readership.

To date Goethe Institut has translated Momo, a popular children's story by German author Michael Ende, together with Gramedia Pustaka Utama; and Enlightenment icon Immanuel Kant's Zum ewigen Frieden: ein philosophischer Entwurf (Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch) with Mizan.

"We also organize translator workshops once or twice a year, because translating is a craft that has to be learned," Bumke said.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tourists swarm Marunda Beach despite pollution

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 04/30/2008 1:10 PM

Marunda beach in Cilincing, North Jakarta, is still a weekend haven for many local tourists, despite its poor condition.

Many come to the beach to enjoy sailing and swimming in the Java Sea.

Aisyah and 25 of her relatives visited the beach Sunday morning. They rented a truck to travel from Bekasi to the beach.

PACKED: Large families prefer to spend holidays on the beach because it is free.

"We just want to have fun here. The beach is quite close to our homes. It was about a 30-minute drive to get here," said Aisyah, whose entourage was made up of mostly children under 12.

She only spent Rp 120,000 (US$13.79) to rent the truck and paid no entrance fees.

"We bring a packed lunch for a picnic, so we don't spend any money on food either," she added.

Aisyah and the children spent their time sailing, hanging out on the seashore and swimming.

"The beach is not beautiful and doesn't have many facilities, but we are having quite a good time here. The children can swim as long as they want," she said.

Aisyah's 12-year-old niece, Lia, enjoyed her time swimming in the Java Sea, despite the dirty seawater.

"The seawater is dirty. I also hurt my feet on stones and oyster shells. But that's OK. It's still fun because I can swim and gather shells with my relatives," said Lia.

For those who cannot swim, visitors can rent floating tires for Rp 3,000 for children and Rp 5,000 for adults.

Aisyah preferred to stay dry.

"I'm reluctant to go in the dirty beach. Ten years ago the water was cleaner. There was no garbage scattered around. Now it looks so dirty and there's garbage everywhere," she said.

"To be honest, if I had more money, I'd go to Ancol instead of Marunda because it's cleaner and it offers better facilities," she said.

Isan, another visitor, even forbade her six-year-old son from swimming in the dirty seawater.

"He wanted to go swimming but I didn't let him. Look, the water is not clear and it can be harmful to children. I don't want him to get a rash," said Isan.

Most of the tourists had driven from outside the city to visit the beach, despite its dirty water and poor surrounding roads.

For years, Jakarta has experienced a range of issues across its coastline, including floods, tidal waves and pollution.

Jakarta's coastal area has rapidly deteriorated in the last few years.

According to the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, six of the nine estuaries in Jakarta are heavily polluted and there are just 120 hectares of mangrove thickets left of the 1,300 hectares that existed in the 1960s.

Tourists still visit the beach, mostly because it is free, but have a hard time getting there.

If you use public transport from Cilincing, also in North Jakarta, you still have to walk one kilometer to get to the beach.

If you go by car, you can park in the lot 800 meters from the beach because the road heading to the beach is to narrow for cars.

A motorcycle may be the best bet because you can use the narrow road, although it has many potholes. You can park your vehicle in the parking area near the tourism site for Rp 2,000.

Although the beach has its negatives, a good clean up could help it realize its potential.

Existing food facilities are a little better. Tourists can enjoy seafood and other meals from food stalls run by surrounding residents.

Muslims visitors can pray at the 348-year-old Al Alam mosque near the beach, where many residents believe Pitung, a Betawi hero during the Dutch colonial era, used to pray.

Besides enjoying the panorama, some tourists visit the beach to go fishing. Asep, a Bekasi resident, usually goes fishing on Sundays.

"I like fishing and often doing it in Marunda. It's free. I usually come here in the morning and go home in the afternoon," he said on a trip with his cousin.

"I can catch about a kilogram or between 15 to 20 cichlid fish. My family and I usually eat them," he said.

Although he enjoys fishing in the area, Asep hopes the North Jakarta administration will provide better fishing areas at the beach.

"I heard the administration is going to convert the beach into a recreational area. If they do that, maybe I will bring my wife and kids here," he said, referring to the administration's plan to develop the beach into one like Ancol.

Aisyah shares Asep's opinion.

"I hope the administration will soon repair the roads heading to the beach, clean the area and provide a playground facility for children. After they finish the development, I hope it will still be free," she said.(trw)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Foreign flights increase could benefit tourism

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 05/02/2008 1:33 PM

To garner more visitors for Indonesia's tourist program dubbed Visit Indonesia Year 2008, the government should grant more foreign airlines increased flight frequencies into Bali and other tourist destinations, an industry leader said Wednesday.

"If the government wants to be totally committed to making (the program) a success, it should start wooing other foreign airlines besides Singapore Airlines," Tengku Burhanuddin, Secretary General of the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACA), said.

"Tell them that since our national carrier is banned by the European Union, we'll give them (foreign airlines) additional flight frequencies into Indonesia."

The Ministry of Transportation recently granted Singapore Airlines an increase in flight frequencies from four to seven flights per day to support the government's tourism program.

Singapore Airlines provides flights from Singapore to Bali, Jakarta and Medan, and the flights increase could see traveler capacity rise to 15,000 per week.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla, along with Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal and Tourism and Culture Minister Jero Wacik, reached the decision upon learning that European tourists were having difficulties finding direct flights from Singapore to Bali due to a recently prolonged EU ban on Indonesia's national carriers.

Tengku said the government should also grant European airliners direct routes to Bali and other tourist destinations, including Makassar in South Sulawesi and Surabaya in East Java.

"There's no reason why the government can't grant more flight frequencies to other foreign airliners. Let them build our tourism market for us and then, when we're ready, we'll slowly tap into that market," he said.

Currently, only Singapore Airlines and Garuda Indonesia are authorized to fly the Singapore-Bali route, with Garuda operating one direct flight per day. Budget Indonesian carrier Lion Air has plans to tap into the route soon, and the ministry of tourism and culture has stated several foreign airliners have requested permission to operate it too.

A recent Ministry survey on European passengers found that 30 percent of those wishing to visit Bali were forced to switch destinations due to flight unavailability.

The government has also recently opened the Yogyakarta-Kuala Lumpur route to two airliners: Malaysia Airlines, which would use the 144-passenger carrying Boeing 737, and AirAsia, which would use the Airbus A 320, with 180 passenger capacity. (anw).

Hotel chain to go high-tech in SEA

By Greg LoweZDNet Asia

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 06:12 PM

BANGKOK--Swiss-based hotel chain, Golden Tulip Hospitality Group, on Monday announced plans to pump US$1.56 billion over the next four years to expand its operations in Southeast Asia, which include building high-tech guest rooms.

The company, which currently operates 324 hotels in 54 countries, is targeting to open 50 hotels in the region by 2012 and will launch three brands: economy-business Tulip Inn, four-star Golden Tulip, and five-star Royal Tulip. Tulip Inns will represent 60 percent of the company's portfolio, with the other brands making up the remaining 35 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

The company's first Tulip Inn subsidiary in Southeast Asia will open in Bangkok this June, following the regional launch of Golden Tulip last October.

The hotels will use advanced in-room IT facilities to target tech-savvy business and leisure travelers across the region's key urban centers and secondary growth areas.

"We are very excited about the in-room IT [amenities]," said Mark van Ogtrop, managing director of Golden Tulip Southeast Asia. "It may be expensive, over 100,000 baht (US$3,156) per room [was invested on IT equipment], but from a marketing point of view, it will create a truly exceptional USP [unique selling point] for our brand."

Each room will offer voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), IP television (IPTV), game consoles, iPod music systems and computer-compatible TVs. Other facilities also include mood-responsive lighting and music, and customizable e-wallpaper.

Golden Tulip plans to open around 20 hotels in Thailand over the next four years, with most other properties launching in Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia. Singapore, the Philippines and other Asean countries will also be included in the company's expansion plan.

The hotel chain plans to target the region's biggest potential customer base: domestic Asian business travelers. Its decision to focus on economy-business hotels rose from a lack of international competition in this segment, and "saturation" at the luxury end of the market, according to van Ogtrop.

The company will also engage local service providers, and is aiming to make Tulip Inns as well recognized as Thailand's domestic brands Amari, Dusit Thani and Centara. "We see that the fastest and best way to grow is to leave the development up to the local experts," van Ogtrop said.

He added that Golden Tulip Southeast Asia is also investing heavily in e-marketing and online booking systems, such as Expedia and, due to the changing nature of how travelers source and book their accommodation.

"More consumers are selecting and booking hotels directly themselves," said van Ogtrop. "We spend a lot of resources to ensure that in any given city, our hotels have predominant positioning online with all distribution systems and third-party Web sites.

Greg Lowe is a freelance IT writer based in Thailand.