Cruise committee

Standing in front from left: Donald Pelam, joh Tonner, Acting Director General, George Borugu and Lloyd Fikiasi. Behind standing: George Pakoa, Adrian Mooney, Jone Rogara, Sebastien Bador and Brenda Andre.

By Len Garae

“Since the cruise market is growing rapidly here in Vanuatu, as Acting DG of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Industry, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business, I would like to see the technical advisory committee come up with a way forward for the cruise industry in Vanuatu and let’s compete with other regional ports of call because strategically we are in a much better location than other pacific islands that Carnival Cruise liners wants to visit”.

While making the statement, the Acting DG says the review of Vanuatu’s National Cruise Tourism Action Plan (NCTAP) comes at the right time as the country is experiencing ongoing growth of the Cruise Tourism Industry which sees a rapid increase of well over 300,000 passengers visiting the country each year.

However, the forecast projected growth in the future is huge which will impact on the infrastructures, employment and the economy. For that reason it is crucial to update our data and plans to suit the current cruise tourism situations to to provide some guidance to the Government to facilitate investments by working closely with relevant stakeholders in improving the competitiveness of Vanuatu’s Cruise Tourism destination in the world.

Before handing over the letters of appointment to the National Cruise Tourism Action Plan Review Committee, Acting Director General of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism, Industry and ni Vanuatu Business,George Borugu explains, “The current Vanuatu’s National Cruise Tourism Action Plan was prepared by the Department of Tourism with technical assistance and funding support from local sources and P&O Cruises. The plan was launched in 2012 with a three year implementation which has lapsed in 2015 thus require a review. And this time we would like this review to look ahead to the next eight years”.

The Technical Advisory Group is made up of the following:

• Department of Tourism

• Vanuatu Tourism Office

• Office of the Maritime Authority

• Department of Customs, Inland & Revenue

• Ministry of Tourism, CSU

• South Sea Shipping

• Adventures in Paradise

• Expedition shipping agent

• Department of Environment

• Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (MIPU)

The acting Director of Tourism Donald Pelam who is appointed Chairman of the Technical Advisory Group points out that the purpose of having this Cruise Tourism Strategic Plan is to provide a classic cruise destination and a unique tourism experience and deliver high value benefits for cruise passengers and local communities. “As a key element of our strategy, we are determined to build new dedicated cruise facilities, most especially in Port Vila since now we have a better wharf facility in Luganville Cruise Terminal. A superior cruise port and terminal in the capital, with its extensive ground facilities will create a compelling reason for larger cruise ships to spend time in Port Vila and in Luganville. Also we will look to develop other Port of Calls such as Lowanatum Port of Call in Tanna, Malekula Port of Call and others once we have hydrographic surveys done on those identified location within Vanuatu”, the Chairman of TAG explains.

“We the Technical Advisory Group will need to approve the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Technical Advisory Group to work and abide by it so as to approve the TOR for the Consultant that will review the Vanuatu’s National Cruise Tourism Action Plan (NCTAP). Since this is urgent, I need all our cooperation to make Vanuatu a competitive destination within the Pacific region.

“We are confident that this comprehensive strategy and our plans will set a course for Vanuatu to become a much more prominent cruise destination in the future”.

The Vanuatu Cruise Tourism Committee (VCTC) has approved of the review of the Vanuatu’s National Cruise Tourism Action Plan (NCTAP) which had lapsed in 2015. This review is necessary for the planning and development of Vanuatu’s cruise sector. The Cruise Tourism Program is currently managed under the Department of Tourism.

“We currently have cruise ports of call with 2 proper cruise terminals (Port Vila & Luganville) with consideration for further developments such as Tanna and Manlep project with an opportunity to extend . Our main competitor in the region currently is New Caledonia which is a two day cruise from Australia. Our competitors are located very closely to us”, Acting Director of Tourism says .

“There is no active promotion of Vanuatu as a Cruise destination so the review of this plan will assist us to move forward and to participate in Trade Shows for further exposure of the destination.

“It is important to have other stakeholders in this TAG so we can have collaborative input towards this document.

“The plan acts as the foundation of our cruise tourism industry in the country. It is good to project a long term plan 20-25 or even 30 years.

“Since Cruise market is growing rapidly in Vanuatu, as acting DG, I would like to see the technical advisory committee come up with a way forward for the cruise industry in Vanuatu and let’s compete with other regional ports of call because strategically we are in a much better location than other pacific islands that Carnival Cruise liners wants to visit”.

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