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New Report Shows Cruise Tourism Brings More Than $34 million into Vanuatu Economy Annually

Apia, Samoa, September 1, 2014 —Cruise tourism injected $34 million Australian dollars into the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu and brought an estimated further $18 million dollars in indirect economic benefits last year, according to a new study.
The study, jointly funded by cruise company Carnival Australia, the Australian Government, and World Bank Group member IFC, also found that the cruise industry is estimated to provide more than 3,000 employment opportunities in Vanuatu.
Vanuatu Prime Minister, the Hon Joe Natuman, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop, World Bank Group Vice President Rachel Kyte, and Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry AO, announced the results of the study at a press conference held in Apia today to coincide with the Small Island Developing States conference.
In Vanuatu, the findings were announced simultaneously in Port Vila by the Hon Ham Lini, Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Industry, Commerce and Tourism.
Prime Minister 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,” Natuman said.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the private sector is a major catalyst for development, and as part of its economic diplomacy agenda, Australia is committed to strengthening links with businesses across the region.
”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,” Minister Bishop said.
According to the Assessment of the Economic Impact of Cruise Tourism in Vanuatu, each cruise ship arriving in Vanuatu brings $257,000 worth of direct benefits to a range of businesses and organisations.  Cruise tourism annual expenditure of $34 million is equal to nearly 10 percent of the country’s exports. Data for the study was provided by the Pacific’s key cruise ship operators Carnival Australia and Royal Caribbean, as well as passengers, businesses and government.
The World Bank Group, through IFC, has been working to attract more tourists to the Pacific nations of Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu. “Cruise tourism can boost household incomes and create jobs for local people,” Kyte said. “We hope that other Pacific countries such as Samoa and Tonga can make use of this Vanuatu study and sustainably grow their tourism industry.”
Carnival Australia and DFAT are working together to further the sustainable development of Pacific economies, and the study is one of the key outcomes of their partnership. The partnership focuses on Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea and has the potential to be implemented in other countries in the region.
Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said the Vanuatu economic impact study and Carnival Australia’s partnership with DFAT confirmed that the long value chain of cruising was reaching deep into the South Pacific to deliver economic opportunity.
“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,” Sherry said.  “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.”
Tourism is vital to the sustainable growth of the Pacific islands, contributing an estimated 11 percent of the region’s gross domestic product and 13 percent of total employment in 2012, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Economic Impact Study of Cruise Tourism in Vanutu
Summary of Key Findings (all figures in Australian Dollars)
  • In 2013, cruise ship companies, their passengers and crew spent $34 million in Vanuatu, which is equal to nearly 10 percent of exports.
  • In addition, cruise activity brought an estimated $18 million to businesses and individuals that work with firms directly supplying the cruise industry.
  • The cruise ship industry is estimated to provide more than 3,000 employment opportunities in Vanuatu.
  • Each cruise ship voyage brings an average of $257,000 to the Vanuatu economy and one cruise ship passenger brings $124 of expenditure.
  • Port Vila receives 85% of all passenger spend in Vanuatu (and 80% of all spend). This is due to Vila’s high number of calls and well-developed excursions and shopping opportunities.
  • Cruise arrivals to Vanuatu have grown by about 15 percent annually for the past 10 years. Last year 240,000 cruise tourists visited Vanuatu. Two-thirds of all visitors to Vanuatu now arrive by cruise ship.
  • An additional $35 million of net economic benefits over 10 years has been identified through investments profiled in the report. These opportunities are focused on destination development and providing improved access to the cruise market for Vanuatu businesses and individuals.