Intro: The COVID-19 pandemic has put Cruise Tourism on hold, resulting in a major impact on cruise operations globally, and to some extent shifting cruises from the known international and regional cruising, towards local cruising. In some parts of the world international cruise lines were on a complete halt due to internal lengthy discussions about how safe it was to return to cruising. Fortunately, cruise operators are working closely with several organizations and government officials of various countries to assure adhering to the strongest standards, ensuring the health and safety of the cruise guests. It is clear that the desire to return to cruising is a priority for many operators but, moreover, for destinations that depend much on the cruise tourism sectors, particularly due to its economic impact and the wealth generation that this unique sector offers.
Indonesia’s coastlines stretch over 54720 kilometres with 17508 islands among 6000 inhabited, which counts as a great value to the Indonesian archipelago throughout its history. Indonesia enjoys a diversity of a wide range of cultural activities, natural heritage and leisure activity. Due to this, cruise tourism Indonesia has always been qualified due to its large expanse of coastlines, historical sights and variety of cultures, making Indonesia an ideal cruise destination. As the cruise industry is adding significant economic value to any called destinations, cruise tourism is an important sector for coastal regions and islands to attract.
Vision: Indonesia to connect locals and Internationals through a truly Indonesian experience like no other, via Cruise Tourism.
Strategy: By qualifying the source market, cruise tourism will be boosted by domestic tourism while observing local needs that can also, in the long run, fit in international expectations as well.
Tangible benefits that Cruise Tourism brings
The tangible elements of Cruise Tourism income can be divided into 5 main areas as follows:
1. Technical income: Revenue which is related to all port and vessel associated fees, immigration costs such as VISAs (passengers and crew) and other general technical costs. In the case of Indonesia, which gives a free entry visa for 169 countries but is currently suspended due to COVID-19.
2. Shore Excursion income: This includes transportation, various attraction sites, tourist guides, restaurants other facilities and/or services.
3. Shoreside spending: Essentially passenger and crew spending while ashore either on a tour or independently.
4. Home Porting: Home Porting income raises the technical income typically by 25-33% depending upon the number of services offered. It will also generate Cruise and Stay and Stay and Cruise scenarios.
5. Local Crew sourcing: This is indeed unique to Indonesia since Cruise Crew are popular to come from Indonesia. This allows several cruise lines when crew scheduling to be more cost effective and turnaround of crew is even more rapid too. Indonesian crew are among the main nationalities for Cruise Crew onboard the ships.
Intangible benefits that Cruise Tourism brings
With respect to intangible income, otherwise known as the catalytic effect, which is stimulated as a result of the exposure that cruise passengers have to Indonesia, compliments of their cruise call, the following categories of wealth generation are expected:
1. Return visits of cruise passengers to Indonesia for business or pleasure, inducing accommodation, transportation and other service-based revenue.
2. Future flights purchased by cruise passengers that become aware of the destination and are tempted to fly with them.
3. Potential business start-ups for higher level cruise passengers that receive attractive information regarding the advantages of opening a company in Indonesia.
4. Potential real estate purchases as a result of exposure.
Pre COVID-19 scenarios: International cruise lines operated itineraries that comprise several ports within Indonesia, however, the major source of cruise guests was flown from different parts of the world. However, in more recent years Genting has explored the potential in running cruises that attracted the local sector and hence were able to launch a new horizon in tourism holiday offers to Indonesians. Genting has always been the pioneering cruise line in Asian waters. The main objective for Genting is to have sustainable growth in the Asian cruise sector and have positioned themselves with the fun, entertainment & gaming industry. While running major casinos, as in the case of Macao.
Domestic Cruise Tourism most recent scenarios & best practice:
To meet the demand of cruise travellers and seeking to maintain a portion of the travel industry, several cruise destinations & cruise lines have found an innovative solution, creating a new domestic cruise segment focusing on individual countries and local destinations. Where ocean cruising is typically known for providing passengers with a broad range of ports across multiple countries, these new cruises reverse that trend marketing locally and focusing on ports of call in an individual country. Hence in the below we intend to illustrate several scenarios of practises attempting to either advance cruise agenda through positioning of ports or even to protect already launched domestic cruising for local nationals as in the following cases of India & Saudi Arabia:
1. Cruise INDIA:
India has most recently tripled its number of cruise calls thanks to the establishment of Jalesh Cruises which meant to cater to the Indian source market but as well with the concept of offering “home away from home” experience for Indian travellers in other cruise attractive itineraries as in the Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean as well as south-east Asia in the long term.
Like in any entrepreneurial setup, cost element and port support are most required to boost the growth of such cruise line initiatives. At the starting stage, the main hub of homeporting was established in Mumbai whereas well the port trust has offered multiple leverage and discounts against the number of calls.
Jalesh was able to establish over 100 turnarounds a year with exclusions of the Monsoon season (June to October). Itineraries were focused on most adverse ports such as in the case of Goa but also explored brand new destinations for cruises as in the case of the Port of Ganpatipule & Diu.
With the pandemic situation bringing a hold to the industry entirely, the Government has stepped in to relaunch cruises on a high scale with better commitment and a clear scheme of discount which we would further endorse in any domestic tourism activity run by a national or international entity. This is, especially when itineraries involve turnarounds in the main ports of Indonesia, supported most importantly by domestic airlift.