Van­u­atu to seek Car­ni­val Aus re­think

Cruise Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

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’.

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