Cruise boosts Vanuatu economy

Rebecca Gibson

Ann Sherry said that Carnival Australia will work to promote sustainable tourism in Vanuatu

Ann Sherry said that Carnival Australia will work to promote sustainable tourism in Vanuatu

Cruise tourism injected AUS$34 million into the local economy of Pacific island Vanuatu in 2013, according to a new economic impact study.

Jointly funded by cruise operator Carnival Australia, the Australian government, and World Bank Group member IFC, the Assessment of the Economic Impact of Cruise Tourism in Vanuatu contains data provided by the Pacific’s main cruise operators Carnival Australia and Royal Caribbean International, as well as passengers, businesses and government.

According to the report, each cruise ship arriving at the island brings AUS$257,000 worth of direct benefits to local businesses. The average spend per passenger amounts to around AUS$124, which helped the cruise industry to generate a further AUS$18 million in indirect economic benefits. The industry also provided more than 3,000 jobs last year. Port Vila receives 85% of all passenger spend and 80% of the total spend, due to its high number of cruise calls, well developed shore excursion opportunities and retail facilities.

Vanuatu has recorded a 15% annual rise in the number of cruise visits over the past ten years and last year 240,000 cruise passengers sailed to Vanuatu. More than two thirds of the island’s tourists now arrive by cruise vessels.

Discussing the results of the study at a press conference on 1 September, Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Joe Natuman said: “There are twice as many visitors arriving in Vanuatu by ship rather than by air, but until now we have had no real data validating the importance of cruise tourism on the country’s economic growth and job creation. Based on this report’s recommendations, we can further grow the industry and provide more business and employment opportunities for our people.”

Carnival Australia and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs aim to use the results of the study to promote the sustainable development of Pacific economies, specifically in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

”The study will help determine future areas of focus under the Australian government’s partnership with Carnival Australia to enhance the economic opportunities tourism can bring to countries in the Pacific,” said Julie Bishop, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister.

“In addition to being a landmark study, this report is also a forward-looking document that paints a picture of how other destinations in the South Pacific can leverage the benefits of cruise tourism as demonstrated by Vanuatu’s experience,” said Ann Sherry, Carnival Australia CEO. “We stand ready to work with other governments and communities in the region to identify the next steps to open up new destinations to cruise ship visits.”

The World Bank Group, which has been working to attract more tourists to the Pacific nations of Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu, will also leverage the study to promote tourism as vital to the sustainable growth of Pacific islands.

“Cruise tourism can boost household incomes and create jobs for local people,” said Rachel Kyte, vice president of World Bank Group. “We hope that other Pacific countries such as Samoa and Tonga can make use of this Vanuatu study and sustainably grow their tourism industry.”