Indonesian media reported that a coordination meeting led by Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan in early August resulted in the confirmed decision to begin the development of Benoa – Bali Cruise Ship Terminal by September this year.
The construction project is assigned to state-owned port management company PT Pelindo III and is set to be complete by the end of next year. The new port will be able to welcome mega cruise ships that can accommodate up to 5,000 passengers and 1,500 crew members. Currently the Benoa Port can only accommodate two cruise ships of medium size.
“The East Dock Pool will be 662 x 150 meters with the depth of 11 meters whilst the West Dock Pool will be 900 x 150 meters with the depth of four meters. The Cruise Ship Terminal will be able to manage 2,500 passengers on a single batch,” declared Pelindo III president director Ari Ashkara to newspapers, including the Jakarta Post.
Indonesia Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya indicated that the new Cruise Terminal will then stimulate cruise travels into Indonesia. In 2015, Indonesia received 260,000 cruise passengers but the number dropped to just 200,000 last year due to a lack of facilities and high fees charged for docking boats. The government recently announced to lower fees, particularly at Benoa Cruise Port.
“Indonesia has many interesting tourist destinations, but infrastructure for cruise ships is not ready”, recognised the Minister.
Apart from the Cruise Ship Terminal, the ministry also plans to develop Celukan Bawang Port in North Bali starting December 2017 until March 2018 to allow it to welcome seven tourist ships carrying 1,000 passengers each.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said three million tourists in East Asia – Australia region traveled using a cruise ship every year, yet Indonesia only welcomed 200,000 foreign tourists.
“With the availability of the new terminal, I hope that we will be able to reach 2019 target of 500,000 foreign tourists from cruise ships ,” said Arief. The terminal is due to be completed before the hosting of the IMF-World Bank Annual Meeting that will be held in the Island in October next year.
“Apart from Benoa, we are also developing Belawan, Tanjung Priok, Tanjung Perak and Soekarno-Hatta ports in Makassar,” added the Minister of Tourism.