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IFC, Carnival Australia, and the Australian Government Seek Opportunities to Grow Vanuatu’s Ship Cruising Industry to Boost Local Economy

Port Vila, Vanuatu, February 20, 2014— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, cruise ship company, Carnival Australia, and the DFAT-Australian Aid program are undertaking a study to measure the economic impact of cruising in Vanuatu and identify opportunities for the government and companies to grow the sector and increase benefits to local businesses.
Vanuatu’s Minister for Tourism, Industry and Commerce, the Honourable Toara Daniel Kalo launched the six-month study today together with tourism sector representatives, donors and business operators. Cruise ship company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, is also cooperating with the study.
“We believe Vanuatu can significantly grow its cruise market if investment is made in the sector,” said Neil Linwood, Senior Vice President for Strategic Development at Carnival Australia. “This study will help stakeholders coordinate their approach in investing in key enablers such as infrastructure, new destinations and hydrography.”
Carnival Australia and the DFAT-Australian Aid program are working together to further sustainable economic development in the Pacific region. Both parties signaled the study as a priority initiative in the memorandum of understanding signed last year.
“The Australian Government is proud to contribute to this study.  Understanding the real value of cruise tourism in Vanuatu will help us to maximize the sector’s development benefits,” said Jeremy Bruer, Australia’s High Commissioner to Vanuatu.
The study will measure the direct and indirect economic impacts of cruise tourism, generating baseline data on the sector’s effect on the economy. The research will include a cost-benefit analysis of expansion of the cruise sector in Vanuatu to inform investment decisions by government, donor partners and the industry. Environmental and social impacts of the development opportunities will also be considered in the analysis.
“Supporting Vanuatu to better leverage cruise tourism for economic growth is a top priority for IFC,” said Gavin Murray, IFC’s Regional Manager for the Pacific. “Growing the sector will provide jobs and create business opportunities for entrepreneurs in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila, as well as in the rural areas where the ships call.”
Cruise arrivals have grown considerably in the last three years, climbing from 140,000 in 2010 to more than 217,000 people in 2013, with Carnival Australia bringing in two thirds of cruise visitors. According to the Vanuatu Statistics office, cruise ship visitors account for close to 70 percent of all visitors to Vanuatu. This year, the country is scheduled to host more than 200 cruise ship arrivals across six ports of call, including 124 calls to Port Vila.