"We already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build a cruise ship to support the countrys tourism industry especially in 10 tourist destinations," head of the Kupang branch of PT Pelni Adrian said here on Saturday.
The ship is being built in South Korea expected to be completed and to be operational in 2018, Adrian said.
Earlier Pelni and Patra Jasa planned to buy a cruise ship, but the plan could not be realized with a regulation banning government agencies including state companies to buy second hand goods from abroad.
"Therefore, Pelni and Pertamina decided to build one that would take a year for completion," Adrian said, adding the cruise ship would serve transport to 10 tourist destinations recognized by the government.
The ten tourist destinations include Labuan Bajo and under sea destination in Riung, East Nusa Tenggara.
Currently Pelni operates not only passenger ships but it also has ship for the transport of cargoes and livestock and tourists.
Business in passenger transport has declined as most passengers choose air transport which much faster.
"Mr (Ignasius) Jonan , when he was transport minister, once told us that it was time for Pelni to focus on other lines of business, but business in passenger transport continues," Adrian said.
He said business in tourism industry is growing that cruise ships is important . The government has been more aggressive in developing its tourism industry to make use of the countrys tourism wealth .
The government is set to double the number of foreign tourists visiting the country to around 20 million in 2019.(*)