Karangasem Gets $2m Port for Cruise Liners

AMLAPURA ~ The central government has allocated Rp20 billion (US$2.1 million) for the construction of a port in Karangasem Regency for cruise ships, in a major development designed to boost the island’s tourism fortunes.

“The allocation of funds is the second phase after the Transportation Ministry disbursed Rp10 billion for the same project in the year before,” chief of the Bali Transportation Office Putu Sujana Cahyanta said.

He said the special seaport, Amuk Port, for tourist cruise ships was under construction by the Karangasem administration in cooperation with the central government.

The port is expected to be in operation in September next year.

Putu Sujana said the port was being built on a 3.5-hectare plot of land.

“The modern and permanent port is expected to be completed in September 2009 because dozens of foreign cruise ships are ready to visit Bali,” Putu Sujana said.

He expressed hope that after the completion of the port, foreign cruise ships passing Indonesian waters would take a few days to make a port call in Bali.

“Luxury cruise ships carrying tourists from other countries to Singapore are expected to call at Bali as well after the modern, permanent port is ready,” Putu Sujana said.

He pointed out that at least 300 luxury cruise ships, each with 1,500 to 2,000 tourists, arrived in Singapore every year.

“The floating hotels on their way to a number of countries in Asia usually pass through Indonesian waters, and therefore they are expected to make a call at in Bali when the port is ready,” Putu Sujana said.

He estimated that even if only a half of the 300 cruise ships call at Bali, it would have a positive impact on the tourist industry in the province, as well as on the local people’s economy.

Putu said at least 17 cruise ships with thousands of foreign tourists called at the old port in Karangasem in 2007, and 15 cruise ships in 2006.

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