Denpasar (ANTARA News) - The government through the Transportation Ministry allocated Rp20 billion in 2008 for the construction of Amuk Port in Karangasem district, Bali, for cruise ships.
"The allocation of funds is the second phase after the Transportation Ministry disbursed Rp10 billion for the same project in the year before," chief of the Bali Transportation Office Putu Sujana Cahyanta said here on Thursday.
He said the special port for tourist cruise ships was under construction by the Karangasem district administration in cooperation with the central government.
The port is expected to be in operation in September next year.
Putu Sujana said the port is built on a 3.5-hectare plot of land in Karangasem district.
"The modern and permanent port is expected to be completed in September 2009 because scores of foreign cruise ships were ready to visit Bali," Putu Sujana said.
He expressed hope that after the completion of the port, foreign cruise ships passing Indonesian waters would take a few days to make a port call in the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
"Luxury cruise ships carrying tourists from other countries to Singapore are expected to call at Bali as well after the modern, permanent port is ready," Putu Sujana said.
He pointed out that at least 300 luxury cruise ships, each with 1,500 to 2,000 tourists, arrived in Singapore every year.
"The floating hotels on their way to a number of countries in Asia usually pass through Indonesian waters, and therefore they are expected to make a call at in Bali when the port is ready," Putu Sujana said.
He estimated that even if only a half of the 300 cruise ships call at Bali, it would have a positive impact on the tourist industry in the province, as well as on the local people`s economy.
Putu said at least 17 cruise ships with thousands of foreign tourists called at the old port in Karangasem in 2007, and 15 cruise ships in 2006.
He said before the Bali bombing tragedy, more than 20 cruise ships called at Bali, and in 1995 some 70 of them with hundreds of thousands of tourists arrived in the resort island.(*)