ni-Vanuatu woman

Richard Butler | Exclusive Report by Doddy Morris of Daily Post VU | NOV 8th, 2022

Vanuatu will welcome the Pacific Encounter, its first cruise vessel after two and a half years of border closure tomorrow (Wednesday).

Cruise Tourism is a very important sub-sector of the Tourism Industry and has been estimated to bring around VT2.6 billion to Vanuatu.

Now that the border is open, cruise tourism will now be able to resume initially on a trial basis for the month of November 2022 with the purpose of testing and evaluating Vanuatu’s readiness to effectively provide tourism services for cruise tourists.

A total of four cruise vessels will visit Mystery Island, Port Vila and Luganville throughout the month.

Acting Director of the Department of Tourism (DoT), Mr. William Naviti, said the trial is very important as it prepares Vanuatu the opportunity to test its cruise preparedness and its systems on ground after more than two years of border closure.

“Since the cruise ships are operating less than maximum passenger volume, it allows us the space to strategically navigate and pinpoint the areas the we, alongside all our stakeholders, need to collaborate and improve on as part of role to coordinate policy to fulfill the objectives of the Sustainable Cruise Tourism Development Strategy and the Sustainable Tourism Policy 2019 — 2030,” states DoT Acting Director Naviti.

According to a statement from the DoT, there will also be a double berthing on the 19th of November in which Port Vila harbour will be hosting the Pacific Adventure during the day, and later in the afternoon hosting the Ovation of the Seas overnight before departing the next day.

In celebrating this resumption of cruise, Vanuatu Tourism Office’s (VTO) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mrs. Adela Issachar Aru, emphasised on the timing of the arrival of the cruise.

“We are very excited for this opportunity to see the cruise return in 2022 as we believe that the trials could not have happened at a better time after our border reopening in July of this year,” she said.

“This is the next port of entry and market that the cruise industry is waiting for in order to deliver our adventure experiences to our visiting cruise travellers.

“Our efforts to increase PR and brand awareness of how great Vanuatu is as an adventure destination is for our cruise passengers to capture their Vanuatu moments each time they berth into Mystery Island, Port Vila and Luganville ports of call.

“The Australian and NZ travellers arriving on our shores are keen to explore places, create new friends, gain new experiences, taste something different and purchase a memoir of their visit, therefore let us welcome them with our warm smiles and friendly hospitality once more.”

Other ongoing preparations included the assistance of the Port Vila City Council (PVCC) who are taking the lead in a clean-up campaign all the way from the airport to the wharf road in which local communities were engaged through existing ward councillors.

In line with this activity, the Department of Public Works and the Department of Ports and Harbour are effectively working to improve the maintenance and environment in all ports of call for cruise ship berthing.

The Government of Vanuatu, through its agencies acknowledges all the support prepared together by both government, private and civil society for the welcome arrival of the first cruise ship arrival at the Port Vila main wharf tomorrow, and also for the month for the cruise trial in 2022.