The Jakarta Post
The governments of Hong Kong and Indonesia are set to strengthen their collaboration in the cruise tourism sector to bring more cruise liners to both countries.
Hong Kong commissioner for tourism Philip W. H. Yung recently met with officials from the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry and the Youth and Sports Ministry to boost this sector.
“We will have a new cruise terminal in Hong Kong that will open in the middle of June and it will be able to berth the largest cruise ship in the world. With this infrastructure, we believe that Hong Kong and Indonesia can work together as Indonesia is a great market,” Yung told The Jakarta Post recently.
He said that the Asia Pacific was becoming a more attractive region for cruise liners, and Indonesia and Hong Kong could become partners by creating a joint destination promotion.
“We can create an interesting cruise tour package such as from Hong Kong to Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and then Indonesia. This will be a new attraction for people who enjoy on a cruise,” he said.
The new US$1 billion Kai Tak Cruise terminal would be much bigger than the existing Ocean Cruise Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui. The new terminal would also be able to accommodate 3,000 passengers per hour, he said.
He said that Hong Kong and Indonesia’s governments would continue to talk with cruise liners independently and together so that the operators could see the potential major market in Asia Pacific cruise tourism.
Contacted separately, Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry’s meeting, incentives, convention and exhibition ( MICE ) director Rizky Handayani welcomed the new partnership.
“This will help promote cruise destinations in Indonesia and will definitely expand our network to cruise operators,” Rizky told the Post, adding that Hong Kong is one of the world’s favorite cruise destinations.
She also said the Transportation Ministry and state-owned port operator Pelindo III was committed to deepening the access channel of Benoa Port in Bali, Tanjung Perak Port in Surabaya and Tanjung Emas Port in Semarang to up to 12 meters this year.
The commitment, announced during the world’s largest sea trade, Cruise Shipping Miami 2013, has increased cruise calls to Indonesia in 2014 to 320 calls, up from 306 calls confirmed throughout this year, according to government data so far.
“The number of passengers is increasing quite significantly, from 147,000 to 200,000 passengers next year as there will be more ships [with each ship] bringing more than 2,000 passengers into Indonesia,” she added.
In addition to that, current data shows that the cruise liners will be visiting 115 different locations in Indonesia.
Yung said he went to Lombok during his visit to Indonesia to explore the island’s potential because Hong Kong travelers were seeking a new holiday destination besides Bali.
According to the Central Statistics Agency ( BPS ) data, the number of Hong Kong visitors to Indonesia rose by almost 10 percent annually over the past several years.
The agency recorded 75,302 tourists from Hong Kong throughout last year, up by 9.26 percent from 68,923 people in 2011.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Tourism Board ( HKTB ) data showed that the city welcomed about 512,000 visitors from Indonesia in 2012, roughly the same as in 2011.
Although the full year figure is not yet available, spending by Indonesian visitors recorded a strong growth of 15.6 percent to HK$6,900 ( $889 ) in the first nine months of 2012, HKTB regional director for Southeast Asia Simon Wong said.
“They also spent more than 50 percent of their trip expenses on shopping,” Simon said.