Australia’s near neighbours all want part of the action as Australian cruise passengers punch well above their weight on the international cruise scene.
This week alone, Indonesia has sent a high level tourist delegation to Sydney to spread the word that Indonesia is not all about Bali, and that there are many wonderful ports that could also be visited by cruise ships.
australiancruisingnews.com notes that larger cruise ships usually sail into the port of Benoa in Bali, which is the gateway to the resort towns of Kuta, Nusa Dua and Ubud, and remains the number one destination for Australians holidaymakers. Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess and Golden Princess, Holland America Line’s Maasdam, Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Solstice, Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas, and P&O’s Pacific Eden will all be there in coming months.
Smaller expedition ships such as Silversea’s Silver Explorer and Ponant’s L’Austral already feature Indonesia’s remoter places on their itineraries as well as the better known Komodo Island, where the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, rules.
Recent changes to Indonesia’s customs, immigration, quarantine, and port procedures have made it easier for ships to also embark and disembark passengers in the ports of Tanjung Perak in Surbaya, Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, and Belawan in Medan.
Indonesia says the country offers many advantages for cruise operators year-round as there is no winter climate and the possibility of storms is very low. Unlike sunshine ports in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, Indonesia sees itself as relatively undiscovered and natural beauty and cultural richness unlike anywhere else in the word.
Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism, Mr Arief Yahya, says, “We want to promote Bali and Beyond so that ports close to Bali can also develop. After enjoying Bali, visitors can continue on to other destinations such as nearby Lombok.”
The Ministry has set a target of 1.4million visits from Down Under in the next twelve months.
Currently, Indonesia (which has over 17,000 islands) is developing priority destinations that have been labelled the “10 new Balis” and are being prepared for a tourism influx. They are Lake Toba, Tanjung Kelayang, Tanjung Lesung, Seribu (Thousand) Islands, Borobudur, Bromo-Semeru, Labuan Bajo, Mandalika, Wakatobi, and Morotai.