The Nusa Islands offer some of Bali’s most impressive vistas and wildlife tourism experiences. Officials from Klungkung Regency have confirmed that they are looking to welcome cruise ships to the island of Nusa Penida in the near future. This news comes as a part of Bali’s bigger move to promote maritime tourism.
According to Indonesia’s Minster for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, cruise tourism in Nusa Penida will soon become a mainstay of the local economy. Speaking during World Tourism Day events on Tuesday 27th September, Minister Uno said that the Bounty Cruise will be the first vessel of its kind to offer experiences in Nusa Penida. While cruise ships dock in Bali and fast boats arrive in Nusa Penida multiple times a day, this new offering is the only commercial cruise liner to arrive directly in Nusa Penida.
Speaking on board the Bounty Cruise Catamaran yesterday, Minister Uno said, ‘This pontoon will be pulled to Nusa Penida, and this Cruise Bounty will bring tourists to enjoy new tourism in Bali’. The Bounty Cruise vessels are not large cruise liners but 44m Catamarans. Nevertheless, these sizeable vessels are the largest of their kind to be able to dock in Nusa Penida, hence the pontoon and the towing.
Bounty Cruises have been operating in Bali since 1999, offering sunset dinner cruises from Benoa Harbor. Guests enjoy a 3-hour experience on the vessel, including a traditional Balinese cultural show, live music, and cabaret. This new venture will bring tourists to Nusa Penida for day cruises. There are plans for private charters of Bounty Catamaran to the Nusa Islands too.
The announcement from Minister Uno comes as he works to diversify the tourism offing across Bali. While he and his teams promote ‘serenity, spirituality, and sustainability’, there are specific targeted efforts to push tourism in Bali’s north, west, and east. As well as sports tourism, wedding tourism, medical and cruise tourism. He wishes to strengthen the quality of the tourism offering along the southern coast in areas like Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, Nusa Dua, and Sanur.
Minister Uno told the press that this development to promote new kinds of tourism in lesser visited areas of Bali province is a smart move. Speaking at another World Tourism Day event earlier in the week, he explained, ‘I have started exchanging data with Mr. Kadis [Head of Tourism Office] and Mr. Deputy Governor, how to share tourists to other areas of Bali, and not to pile up in southern Bali’.
His concerns lie with overtourism in those areas. An observation that has been felt by both local people and visitors to the area. He suggested that tourists look across Bali when planning their visit, least not to avoid traffic congestion along the southern beaches.
Acknowledging the issue of traffic openly, Minister Uno highlighted the coordinated effort to promote other parts of Bali. He said, ‘southern Bali seems to have started to get interest. In order not to have overtourism, we also want to [target] areas that really need a touch from tourism events and activities’.
Nusa Penida is an increasingly popular area for domestic and international tourism. While many will welcome the announcement that cruise travel will open more economic opportunities for the outlying islands, others are concerned that this will trigger the beginning of mass tourism in these areas. History would suggest that this can leads to pockets of over-tourism like in the south of mainland Bali. Those same observers have asked if that is best for Nusa Penida in the long run.
Bali is striving to cover as many industry markets as possible as a world-class tourism destination. In Benoa Harbor, construction teams are working a way on developing the Bali Maritime Tourism Hub. The development will enable large cruise liners to dock in Bali as well as more sail ships and yachts.
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