Kuta, Bali (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan has a vision to make Bali a marine tourism hub after the expansion of the tourist port of Benoa.

"We should not serve as a feeder port for Singapore. We have to make Bali a hub between Mandalika, Labuan Bajo and Banyuangi," he said after commissioning a new underpass in the Ngurah Rai cross road in Kuta, Bali on Saturday.

The expansion of the Benoa Tourist Port of Bali has apparently conjured to the vision of Bali as marine tourism center especially for Eastern Indonesia.

Luhut said Bali, the country`s largest tourism asset, is highly potential to become a marina tourism center that would help increase visits to other areas in Indonesia.

Currently, the state owned port operator Pelindo III is expanding the terminal for tourist boats to be completed by the end of September this year.

A tourist boat with a capacity of carrying 3,000 tourists would be able to dock at the terminal, he said, adding,"Not only that, a special terminal for yacht is being built there."

Foreign tourists could fly in to Bali and hire a yacht to continue to Mandalika in Lombok or Labuan Bajo, in Flores he said.

Labuan Bajo is important as the main access to the Komodo Park the habitat of ancient dragon Komodo found only on the Komodo island just across Labuan Bajo in the western end of Florea.

Currently the expansion of the "Benoa Tourism Port" is in progress estimated to cost Rp600 billion.

Reporting by Dewa Wiguna
Editing by A Saragih, Andi Abdussalam

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