With yacht chartering growing in popularity in Indonesia, the government has announced plans to simplify the entry process for foreign-flagged yachts and extend the stay period in a bid to expand yacht tourism.

With 17,000 islands, many uninhabited, the yacht cruising opportunities in Indonesia have been increasingly identified and promoted over recent years. This has resulted in more and more yachts visiting, as well as a growing number of charter yachts in the islands.

The announcement regarding the planned change was, according to an Antara News report, made by Indonesian Tourism Minister, Arief Yahya, while visiting the Nongsa Point Marina in Batam. “It is hoped that it will soon take only two hours to issue a permit,” he said.

Yahya said the government would initiate the CAIT Online (Clearance Approval for Indonesian Territory Online) permit issue system to bring about quicker clearance. He also said that the time that yachts will be allowed to stay would be doubled from three to six months.

In a wide-ranging speech comparing Indonesia with Singapore in terms of berthing costs and cruising areas, he said: “The yachting tourism sector in Indonesia is quite competitive compared to that of neighbouring countries. So far, thousands of yachters have parked their vessels in Singapore because the regulations and bureaucracy in Indonesia are not as competitive.”

Yahya said there was a need for Indonesia to improve its services so as to compete more strongly.

“In addition, bureaucratic reforms set to be incorporated into yachting tourism are soon expected to boost national sailing sports,” he said. “Moreover, the Ministry of Tourism has received support from the Ministry of Transportation with regard to advancing the yachting tourism sector through the development yacht docking locations and improvement of pier capacities. The Ministry of Tourism has proposed to the Ministry of Transportation to develop the capacity of piers in 38 locations where yachts berth.”

Yahya also spoke of new yacht cruising routes. “The Ministry of Tourism, along with stakeholders in the sector, have developed 18 yacht routes from Papua in the east to Sabang in the west,” he said. “The development of these routes has been carried out through rallies, races and sailing events, such as Sail Raja Ampat, Sail Tomini, Darwin-Ambon International Yacht Rally, and Sabang International Regatta. These events have, so far, been attended by international yachters sailing from Phuket in Thailand, who then stay in Langkawi in Malaysia and stop by Sabang, Indonesia.”