Cruise ship tourism era floats into Indonesia
By Wasti Atmodjo, JAKARTA The Jakarta Post/Asia News NetworkJAKARTA The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network--After the recent inauguration as a International Cruise Terminal, Benoa Port, which serves as both the embarkation and debarkation point for cruise passengers, welcomes the New Year as a new era for cruise ship tourism in Bali and Indonesia. According to the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, 306 cruise ships have confirmed stopovers for 2013, which is a remarkable 43-percent increase from last year.
January 14, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Data from the Bali tourism agency showed that in 2010, 28,154 foreign tourists arrived in Bali through its seaports. This number increased by 11.34 percent to 31,346 people in 2011. In previous years, the number was around 5,000.
Those arriving through seaports were usually from the U.S., Europe, Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. The peak in arrivals was usually around April. Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said that the ministry estimated that it would welcome 119,000 cruise ship guests in 2013, with arrivals reaching 500,000 by 2016.
“This is indeed a new era — a revolutionary era — for cruise ship tourism in Indonesia,” said Ida Bagus Surakusuma, popularly known as “Lolec,” a senior businessperson in the cruise ship tourism industry in Bali.
Lolec said that the new status of Benoa as a turnaround port and the development of other cruise destinations around Indonesia, would in the long run encourage more visitors to come to Bali. Benoa had been prepared as a turnaround port several years ago, through the initiatives of Sapta Nirwandar, deputy minister of tourism and creative economy.
In his view, the Benoa Port may also serve as alternative gate to enter Bali, besides Ngurah Rai International Airport, which becomes more crowded day by day.
Indonesia currently has around 40 ports that have the potential to be transform into international cruise terminals. The potential of the ports located in places such as Ambon; Belawan; Celukan Bawang; Jakarta; Karimunjawa; Komodo; Kumai; Lembar; Makassar; Pare Pare; Probolinggo; Sabang; Semarang; and Surabaya, lies in their unique geographical locations, which are rich with natural and cultural heritage.