Thousands of Bali tourism workers are returning to the cruise industry after the height of the pandemic. Job opportunities in the sector have skyrocketed in recent weeks as international cruise companies relaunch many of their biggest vessels.
Speaking to local reporters Dr. Nyoman Diana, the Board of Director of PT Crew Transfer International (CTI), said that this surge was a good opportunity for Balinese people who have been struggling with pandemic-rated job losses for over two years.
Diana said ‘After the Covid-19 subsided, around 9,000 people joined on board. Because of the number of crew on a medium-sized cruise ship, it requires around 1,500 workers and from that number, there is 30 to 35 percent of Indonesian Migrant Workers (PMI). This is a very good opportunity for the Balinese, especially the productive age group’.
Diana told reporters that the majority of the 9000 workers had joined Carnival Cruise Line ships, it is hoped that other giant cruise companies like Royal Cruise Line will return to their pre-pandemic scheduling sooner rather than later helping create more jobs for Balinese people. According to Diana, Royal Cruise Line operated 20-30 ships of which 30-35% of staff on board are from Indonesia.
Areas of work on cruise ships for Balinese staff encompasses all aspects of a smooth running ship, including front of house, housekeeping and kitchen teams.
Explaining in more detail, Diana said ‘Just imagine, about 300 to 400 workers are needed, multiplied by 30 ships and that’s just one company. Meanwhile, we already have cooperation with almost 80 percent of foreign companies from America, Europe, and Asia. This is a great opportunity for our young people who want to work abroad and of course, reduce the unemployment rate in Bali in particular’.
Diana operates a human resources company, providing crew and cruise staff to cruise companies. When asked about a finders fee, Diana confirmed that his company does not charge people to find them a job, unlike many ‘recruitment’ agencies that scam local people into costly and dangerous debt bondage situations over international work.
The company director explained how the cruise industry can provide a huge boost to Bali’s tourism economy and help reduce unemployment rates.
He said ‘We are official agents and not brokers for dispatching workers. People who are looking for work certainly have the motivation to improve the economy and it would be a big mistake to burden them (PMI) with unnecessary costs. My principle is that it would be better when they return from the ship and help their own families and neighbors so that they can help the nation to reduce the unemployment problem’.
Diana’s company is being supported by the Buleleng Regency Government to recruit staff for the cruise liners. It is believed that businesses across Bali are struggling with staffing during this first high season since lockdown. Business owners are juggling trying to run at full capacity with rising overheads, streamlined staffing, and covering debts accrued during the pandemic so far.
Bali is committing to improving infrastructure for cruise tourism with investment in the Bali Maritiaine Tourism Hub. The facility is an expansion of Benoa Harbour and is already underway. The infrastructure improvements will mean that the port can welcome cruise ships up to 350m in length, that carry up to 6,000 passengers. The development is costing USD 80 million and is a public-private partnership between the Indonesian government and construction company Pelindo.
One of the most significant developments at the Bali Maritime Tourism Hub is the degrading process that will increase the port’s depth from 9m to 12m, allowing bigger cruise ships to come into dock. The Tourism Hub will also feature a yacht marina, yacht club, theme park, and water sports facility. It is hoped that increased investment in maritime tourism will help diversify Bali’s portfolio of tourism opportunities and increase the strength of the local economy.
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