Tourism leaders all over Bali are getting super excited about the potential of cruise travel to the island right now.
With the arrival of the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship in Benoa Harbor earlier this week, businesses are exploring how cruise travel will reshape the future of tourism on the Island of the Gods.
Chatter about the potential of cruise travel in Bali has been steadily rising for the last few years. With millions of dollars of investment being pumped into the Bali Tourism Maritime Hub in Benoa Habor, Bali is about to become the biggest cruise travel hub in South East Asia.
While cruise travel is available in Asia, largely in Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore, the most popular cruise experiences in the world are operated in the Caribbean and around Europe.
With Bali set to become the next big cruising destination in Southeast Asia, a whole new set of opportunities for adventure is opening up for cruise-loving tourists.
One of the key reasons why businesses in Bali want to see more cruise travel come to the island is because of the comparatively high-spending tourists who are attracted to the experience. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economies, the average cruise tourist spends more in just a few days on the island than the average holidaymaker does over a 3-7 day vacation.
The Deputy for Tourism Products and Activities at the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism, Vinsensius Jemadu, told reporters gathered at Benoa Harbor, “The cruise ship segment is where rich people come, and they are expected to spend USD 1,500-2,00 per visit per person”
Speaking in October, Indonesia’s Tourism Minster Sandiaga Uno revealed that the average spend of a tourist on vacation, or visiting Bali for a specific event, spends USD 1,500 during their visit.
This includes accommodation, food, transport, and experiences.
The Ministry of Tourism and the Bali Provincial government are on a mission to attract higher quality tourists to the island who stay longer and spend more.
@hrhprincejim Celebrity Solstice – Balcony Stateroom 6121 Tour #cruise #cruiselife #cruisetok #celebritysolstice @Celebrity Cruises ♬ Jazz Bossa Nova – TOKYO Lonesome Blue
Passengers from the Celebrity Solstice chatted with reporters as they disembarked the ship. Lynn Sullivan from the USA told reporters she’d joined the cruise, which also stopped off in northern Australia, because of the visit to Bali.
She said, “This is my first time going to Bali, and I have always been interested in Balinese culture. I also want to buy batik.” She shared that she had spent USD 300 on a day tour of the island to make the most of her visit.
James Quigg, from Northern Ireland, told reporters, “I chose to travel around to see Bali, visit temples, and try culinary delights because I wanted to try spicy food, something new.”
The Celebrity Solstice Cruise Ship docked at Benoa Harbor from 30-31st October carrying 2,776 passengers.
The cruise ship is now on its way to Singapore, where it is due to arrive on the 3rd of November.
The arrival of the cruise was quite the spectacle as it was the largest cruise ship to ever dock at Benoa Harbor and the first of many more such moorings scheduled in 2024 and 2025.
Officials from Pelindo, the company behind the huge development project at Benoa Harbor, have said that once completed, the new harbor will be able to accommodate five such large cruise ships at the same time.
Known as voyager cruise ships, the vessels are long-distance cruise liners with an average length of 290 meters.
This would enable Benoa Harbor and the Bali Maritime Tourism Hub to welcome 12,500 international cruise passengers in one go.
But while the hype about the spending habits of cruise passengers may mean the island is certainly an exciting prospect for businesses in Bali, what mustn’t be overlooked is that the average cruise tourist will spend less than 24 hours with their feet on Balinese turf.
With more than 70% of tourists arriving in Bali by air and the Ministry of Tourism wanting to extend the average stay from 3 days to 7 days, the tourists who have the most impact on Bali’s economy will be arriving at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International, rather than Benoa for a long time to come.
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