Vanuatu to seek Carnival Aus rethink
THE Vanuatu Government hopes to hold talks with Carnival Australia in Sydney this month in a bid to encourage the cruise company to consider rethinking its ship deployment to the island nation in the years ahead.
Cruise ship passengers have been driving tourism to Vanuatu over the past few years following Cyclone Pam in Mar 2015.
Vanuatu’s air arrivals in Apr sat at 8,935 visitors, while the cruise ship visitor number was 20,407.
The figure slid to 15,360 in May, but cruisers still accounted for 68% of all visitors to the country.
Vanuatu is investing heavily in its cruise infrastructure, with a new facility opening at Santo late last month and a new terminal for cruise ships currently under development in Port Vila which will enable two ships to dock in the capital’s harbour at one time.
A new Vila seafront precinct was unveiled last week, partially aimed at enticing cruise pax off ships docked in the harbour.
However, growth over the past five years is expected to slow in 2018/19, Vanuatu Tourism Office gm Adela Issachar Aru told Cruise
Weekly at the 2017 Tok Tok travel trade show in Vila last week.
“VTO has been advised there may be a drop in numbers to Port Vila, Luganville & Mystery Island,” Issachar Aru said.
“Part of this drop is related to itinerary planning 18-20 months ahead of time, when the decision was taken on their part, we were still undergoing construction for the Santo wharf, as well as trying to fix some traffic management situations we had in Port Vila.”
“We are working with the govt to re-approach Carnival and say ‘look, now we have a fantastic seafront area, new exciting tours and activities happening in Port Vila and Efate. Take another look’.