Indonesia works to increase cruise tourism
The waters of Indonesia are remarkable for boating. So much so that there are tribes of indigenous nomadic people that live exclusively on boats, according to Kensington Tours. With diving spots that will put you up close with beautiful unspoiled reefs to interesting journeys on glass bottom boats, an Indonesian cruise can be phenomenal. In fact, the cruise industry has been attracting travelers for years, but the popularity of Indonesian cruising may skyrocket in upcoming years after the country builds some valuable infrastructure.
A national sea highway
According to Travel Daily Media, tourism officials are endorsing the Indonesian president-elect's proposal to construct a national sea highway. The development would help grow the already thriving cruise market in the country and increase international tourism. The proposal's main purpose is to improve connectivity between major seaports along the archipelago, however officials believe it will also benefit the cruise sector.
Adding to existing growth
Indonesia's cruise industry has had no trouble growing in recent years due to increasing numbers of tourists, according to The Jakarta Post. In the first quarter of 2014, the cruise industry has already seen 2.2 million foreign tourists - a 10.1 percent increase compared to the same time last year. Going back further, the news agency reported the number of cruise calls reached 309 last year, increasing 500 percent over numbers from 2001, according to the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry. However, the country has much bigger plans for the future.
"The growth of the country's cruise sector is highly dependent on an adequate sea infrastructure," Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board Chairwoman Wiryanti Sukamdani said, according to the JP. "The sea highway initiative, if it goes as planned, would obviously go hand in hand with our program to achieve at least 500 cruise calls next year."
And it doesn't stop there. Travel Daily Media reported the TECM is targeting a meteoric rise in cruises within a few years. Currently, the group projects over half a million passengers and roughly 700 port calls will be made in 2016.
Stacking up against the competition
Indonesia has lagged behind neighbor countries in the tourist industry, according to the JP. Countries like Malaysia and Thailand saw over 25 million foreign tourists in 2013, while, Singapore had only 15.6 million international visitors. On the other hand, Indonesia drew in just 8.8 million tourists last year.
To experience another thriving cruise industry, savvy travelers may want to look into sailing through the rivers of West Africa. From the lush riverbanks to the exciting array of wildlife, the crystal blue waters of West Africa can be a relaxing and exotic destination.