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Foreign Cruise Ships Again Begin Calling on Indonesian Ports.

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After a hiatus of several years when many cruise companies completely avoided Indonesian ports of call, encouraging signs are literally on the horizon indicating that cruise ships are again starting to make calls on Indonesian ports.

The Secretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Sapta Nirwandar, reports that during 2004, some 11 cruise ships carrying a total of 5,000 passengers called on Indonesian ports.

The growing number of schedule ports of call in Indonesia by overseas liners demonstrates that passenger shipping is making a gradual comeback after hitting an all-time low in 2001. Among the ships that have called over the past year include the Hanseatic which called on more than 13 Indonesian ports, Columbus, Deutschland, Europe, and Astor. The Funchal and Silver Cloud are scheduled to call before the end of the current year.

Citing the important role played by cruise ships in restoring the country's damaged tourism image, Sapta said changes and improvements are needed in several sectors to help stimulate the cruise ship market to Indonesia.

In 1998, Indonesia hosted over 20,000 cruise ship passengers, suggesting there's still a great deal of ground to be regained, despite the current upswing in cruise business.

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