Indonesia opens its heart to long range cruisers

Sailing beautiful Indonesia - now easier
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...and hopes they will open their pockets. About 500 yachts a year visit Indonesia, long range cruisers on their way around the world, or sometimes merely around Asia. For a tropical country blessed with thousands of remote and interesting islands, that is very few of the 50,000 yachts that sail through Asia. While it has traditionally been complicated and time consuming to obtain a cruising permit for Indonesia, the emerging country is now saying 'Yes!' to yachts.

According to the ministry of tourism, they are now preparing special recommended 'sea routes' to attract the free-wheeling cruising sailor. These will include 'technical data' to ease the way of the first time sailor in the territory.

Firmansyah Rahim, the Director General of Tourism Destination Development at the Tourism Ministry said that past efforts to lure yacht tourism to Indonesia have been limited to sailing regattas and yacht races, such as Sail Indonesia, Sail Banda, Sail Morotai and similar events.

'Now we hope that beyond the assistance of sailing events, individual yachts visiting Indonesia can reach 10,000 – 20,000 vessels each year, said Firmansyah.

He also emphasized that the independent and free-spirited nature of world yachtsmen is very much in keeping with Indonesia's rich variety of cultures and geographic areas covering an area equal in size to the United States.

As reported by Bisnis.com, in order to stimulate yacht tourism the President issued a new regulation for this sector on October 31, 2012. These regulations have adopted a 'prosperity approach' - utilizing mechanisms and procedures that remain user friendly without sacrificing security and safety.

Of the 50,000 yachts that cruise Asia each year, the are now hoping to attract 20% or 10,000. The logic goes that if each of these 10,000 vessels carry a crew of 5 people and sails through Indonesian water for a period of three months spending 40 days on shore visits, the yachting sector has the potential of earning US$200 million in foreign exchange annually.

Cruising sailors do not normally travel with five crew on board, and the announcement does not make clear just how they will attract such an increase, but it's good news that the degree of welcome from Indonesia is increasing, and so, hopefully, will the amount of bureaucracy decrease.