Restrictions on superyachts in Indonesian waters are easing and 2018 could be the best year yet to visit the idyllic coastal country in South East Asia: The Indonesian government has already made entry and departure easier and President Joko Widodo has announced marina expansion at 10 different ports in Indonesia, leading to better access to the islands for cruise ships and superyachts.
“When the cruise terminal in Benoa is finished in August, people will no longer have to go to Singapore,” he said. “That way, if a cruise ship goes to Benoa, it will be able to proceed”.
The terminal will cost 1.7 trillion rupiahs and accommodate ships with a draft greater than 13m/43ft. The construction will be finished before August next year, ahead of the IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali in October.
“As the country with the world’s second-longest coastline, Indonesia has yet to bank on its rich marine resources to support the growing number of superyacht visitors to Indonesia,” Richard Lofthouse of Asia Pacific Superyachts Bali and Raja Ampat in Indonesia commented.
According to Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, more than half of Indonesia’s tourists visit to experience its culture, with the country’s striking natural beauty taking a strong second place. As such, activities such as yachting, cruising and diving are high priorities for development, and the Raja Ampat islands in West Papua have made a number of Top 10 dive site lists for their pristine waters, exotic corals and diverse marine life.
The Tourism Ministry has identified other exceptional dive sites for development: Bunaken in North Sulawesi, Derawan in East Kalimantan and Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). Future plans involve improving the infrastructure and providing regulatory support for the development of tourism and the yachting industry in these locations.
Lofthouse notes: “Indonesia has so far simplified rules on yacht arrivals by waiving clearance approval for Indonesia territory (CAIT), which cuts the time for issuing entrance permits from three weeks to just three hours. It has also conditionally scrapped the cabotage principle by allowing passengers of foreign cruise ships to embark and disembark at five major Indonesian ports. We look forward to welcoming more yachts in 2018 in Bali and at the APS branch in Raja Ampat.”