Bali has set itself the target of attracting at least 51 cruise liners, or around 24 percent of the 215 cruise ships expected to visit Indonesia this year, an official said.
“We expect that the island will be visited by at least by 51 cruise ships this year. The resort island currently has three harbors capable of receiving such visits: Benoa in Denpasar, Tanah Ampo in Karangasem and Celukan Bawang in Buleleng,” PT Pelindo III general manager Iwan Sabatini said.
PT Pelindo III runs Benoa, the island’s largest ferry harbor, as well as primary docking facility, for hundreds of fishing boats, which are the backbone of the island’s tuna industry. The harbor lies in the central region of Bali, while Tanah Ampo is in the east and Celukan Bawang in the north.
Sabatini said that cruise industry had good potential for boosting the island’s tourist industry. Indonesia, including Bali, has yet to fully explore the possibilities offered by cruise line-based tourism.
“The country is yet to have, or construct, a harbor specifically designed and designated for cruise liners,” he stressed, adding that the harbors that currently were tasked with receiving cruise ships had been built as general purpose harbors, later on being upgraded with facilities to serve cruise liners.
“There are 20 harbors across the country that are being upgraded and prepared to be Indonesia’s cruise ship destinations,” he said.
He praised the decision as a wise move given that recent developments in the cruise line industry favor Indonesia. Sabatini pointed out that in the early to late 2000s, the number of cruise ships anchoring in the country’s waters had been neither substantial nor consistent. In 2001 there were 50 ships. The number fell to 24 the following year, falling again to 19 in 2003. The number rose to 40 in 2004, 41 in 2005, 89 in 2006, and 97 in 2007, before plunging again to 43 in 2008.
Since 2009, the number has grown substantially. In that year the country received 135 ships, rising to 189 ships in 2010, before slightly
declining to 178 ships in 2011.
The huge potential of the cruise industry to bring in a large number of foreign visitors, Sabatini pointed out, could be seen from the number of tourists travelling to Asia using the luxurious ships. In 2011 alone, the number of cruise passengers from the US reached 11.29 million, closely followed by European passengers with 6.07 million people.
On average, each ship carries 2,500 passengers and nearly 500 crew. The passengers’ daily expenditure reaches US$100 per day per passenger, while the crew’s is $90 per day per person, bringing the total daily expenditure to around $295,000.
“That’s not including the money spent when the ship makes a stopover at a harbor. Generally, 85 percent of the passengers and 38 percent of the crew will leave the ship and explore the local area during the stopover. Naturally, they will spend their money on food and souvenirs during that period.”
“Therefore it is a good move to upgrade Benoa and other harbors to cater to this specific group of tourists, well known for their loyalty and generosity,” Sabatini added.