Bali's $190m cruise port will drive tourists to the '10 new Balis'

A cruise terminal and marina development in Bali hopes to attract "the rich guy" and spread tourist dollars across Indonesia as the country seeks to boost visitors to 20 million a year.

Sailing across the Java Sea from Benoa Bay in Bali's south sits ONEdeg15 Marina at Singapore's Sentosa Cove, touted as "evoking the glamour and elegance of Monte Carlo" and boasting a membership of about 4000 people from Australia and Southeast Asia.

It's those yachting enthusiasts, plus regular cruise-goers, Indonesian company Pelindo III are eyeing as they prepare to dredge the bay to make way for Indonesia's biggest cruise port and terminal.

"At the moment people have Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai (to sail to) but Bali is very rare because the infrastructure is not there yet," Pelindo III chief executive Ari Askhara said.

He said they waned to invite "the rich guy" to sail to Bali.

After five years of planning, the company hopes they will get final approval for the $A190 million project by the end of August.

This will allow them to expand the dock to accommodate three cruise ships at a time, rather than one.

A passenger terminal and a 90-odd berth marina is also planned.

Pelindo III is "aligning" itself with the government's program to attract 20 million foreign tourists in 2019.


Last year there were 11.5 million, up from 9.7 million in 2015.

The government has flagged "10 new Balis", including Lake Toba in Sumatra, and Labuan Bajo near Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara.

It hopes two million will enter Bali via cruise ship a year, with plans for port improvements in Java and East Java under way.

Bali tourism office chief Anak Agung Gede Yuniartha Putra said the cruise terminal was vital for the island with Denpasar airport at capacity.

However, he stressed it must be coupled with other improvements.

Chronic traffic is already encouraging people to hop to neighbouring islands.

"With this kind of traffic jam ... Every day there are about 2000-2500 people crossing there (to Lombok and Gili Trawangan) by fast boat."

Tourism expert Ida Bagus Surakusuma also welcomed the plan but said the government target of two million passengers a year "must be taken cautiously".

They also need to decide who they want to attract.

"Which passengers are the target? Back then, cruise ships were definitely rich people. But now people coming to Asia, including Bali, are second-class passengers.

"Rich people tend to choose the Mediterranean or Europe."