Thu, 06 Jan 2011

From: The Jakarta Post

By Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Indonesia is planning to build more cruise ports in efforts to increase numbers of foreign visitors who come here on cruises.

Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said Thursday he wanted new cruise ports in at least Bali and the Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua.

At present, cruise liners passing through the Indonesian archipelago could only make stopovers in Semarang, where passengers could disembark to make road trips to the famous Borobudur temple in Central Java; as well as in Surabaya, East Java; Batam; and Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara.

"In Bali, cruise ships can only stop in the middle of the ocean. So we’re building a cruise port where they can dock. Cruise ships have many elderly passengers, so [ports are important]," Jero said.

He added that he wanted to draw investors to eastern Indonesia, and specifically expressed his wish to build a cruise port in the Raja Ampat area, often dubbed Indonesia's best marine park.

Jero made the statement after Indonesia and Singapore agreed on Tuesday to jointly develop cruise tourism. Singapore is currently enjoying a boom in cruise tourism and needs new destinations to offer, and Indonesia wants to make use of the opportunity to draw more visitors to its abundant marine tourist sites.

"This is very interesting because a cruise ship can carry up to 2,000 passengers. We can offer them food, souvenirs and the passengers’ other needs [while in Indonesia]," Jero said.