The first cruise ship to dock at Benoa Harbour in Bali arrived on Monday the 19th of September. The ship, named Laperouse, arrived in Bali from Australia carrying 250 guests. The vessel is the first of 53 cruise ships scheduled to arrive at Benoa Harbour before the end of 2023.
Laperouse and her guests were welcomed by representatives from the Bali provincial government, tourism agents, and the Indonesian maritime logistics office Pelindo. The Regional Head of Pelindo, Ardhy Wahyu Basuki, told reporters of the excitement of welcoming cruise ships back to Bali. Basuki said, “We all know that this pandemic has had a tremendous impact on all aspects, one of which is tourism, and now after almost 2 years we have been forced to close ourselves and now what we are waiting for has come, this is certainly good news for all of us.”
According to Basuki, port management teams have been working around the clock to prepare for the return of cruise tourism in the area. Significant projects have been undertaken to improve the infrastructure of the harbor to ensure that cruise tourism can continue to grow. Benoa Harbor is being transformed into the Bali Maritime Tourism Hub, and construction has already begun.
Basuki said that part of the initiative’s aim is “to raise the national economy through tourist visits by providing exhibition stands for MSMEs to showcase their superior products during cruise visits.” MSMEs are medium, small, and micro enterprises, an area of business development that receives increasing focus from both the central and provincial governments.
The Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Tjokorda Bagus Pemayun, expressed his gratitude to Pelindo and Benoa Harbour for their efforts in promoting and preparing for cruise tourism. He said, “The arrival of the cruise will provide a fairly large economic turnaround for Bali.” He explained that he hoped the arrival of Laperouse would help build momentum for the area’s development.
Speaking to the media when he disembarked, the ship’s captain, Ludovic Theophile Jose, expressed his happiness at being able to bring his ship to Bali for two days. He said, “I have been to many places in the world, and Indonesia has always been our favorite destination.” In two days, Laperouse and her guests will head onwards, docking in Probolinggo in East Java and Tanjung Emas Semarang in Central Java.
The passengers have a jam-packed schedule during their time in Bali. Siti Juariah, Public Relations of Benoa Harbor, told reporters they would visit tourism hotspots like Ubud. They are on guided tours provided by local travel providers.
The Bali Maritime Tourism Hub is being developed by the state-owned enterprise Pelindo. The new infrastructural developments will cost USD 80 million. The new tourism hub is set to welcome larger cruise ships and promote coastal tourism in a new way.
There are hopes the area will become more popular with travelers who enjoy yachting and sailing. The development is set to feature a yacht marina, yacht club, theme park, and water sports facilities. Work has been ongoing for over 12 months. Current projects include dreading the coastline to increase the port’s depth to allow much larger cruise ships to come in to dock.
There are hopes that the development will support hundreds more local medium, small and micro enterprises and provide hundreds of jobs on land and at sea. Cruise ship operators have been recruiting Balinese workers for their vessels. Speaking late last month, Dr. Nyoman Diana, the Board of Director of PT Crew Transfer International (CTI), confirmed that jobs in the cruise industry can provide a stable income for Balinese workers.
Looking at CTI’s international cruise ship portfolio alone, each vessel they are required to staff needs 1,500 workers, of which 30-35% can be from Indonesia. By mid-August, CTI had placed 9,000 workers from Indonesia onto international cruise liners.
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