Port Vila, Vanuatu, December 13, 2016
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is supporting Vanuatu’s businesses to sell handicrafts, cosmetics, and food products on board P&O cruise ships visiting this Pacific nation. In a world first, Australia’s leading cruise line is trialing the sale of locally-made goods, creating greater economic opportunities for the island’s businesses and communities.
The initiative forms part of IFC’s broader partnership with Carnival Australia, which represents P&O Cruises Australia, and the Australian government. The partnership began in 2014 with IFC undertaking an economic-impact study of the cruise sector in Vanuatu. The findings were significant: cruise passenger, company, and crew-spending amounted to 10 percent of Vanuatu’s total annual exports.
The report prioritized initiatives to grow cruising’s impact, with local supplying listed as one of the most beneficial activities to increase value from the sector. IFC, in partnership with P&O Cruises, has since worked with businesses and P&O’s onboard retailer, Harding Retail, to explore opportunities to host Vanuatu products on board.
The trial begins on P&O’s Pacific Aria today and will be progressively introduced across the cruise line’s entire five-ship fleet in 2017.
"It can be difficult for Vanuatu businesses to get their goods to market due to its location in the Pacific,” said Tom Jacobs, IFC Pacific Country Manager. "By retailing products on board, up to 2,000 passengers can buy these products during this trial, in turn boosting incomes of businesses, farmers, and handicraft-makers.”
Harding Retail chose suppliers based on their knowledge of demand and experience in selling products to 20 of the world’s top cruise brands. Initial suppliers include Venui Vanilla, Tanna Coffee, Tanna Farms, Volcanic Earth, Summit Gardens, ACTIV Association, and Pandanus.
Products include handicrafts, jewelry, lotions, spices, coffee, and chocolate. Vanuatu-themed pop-up stands on the cruise ships will promote and sell the products. Products may change as the retailer becomes more familiar with the sorts of products that guests purchase throughout the trial.
P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the cruise line values its long and harmonious relationship with Vanuatu and its people. “We are proud to trial the sale of locally-made products onboard the P&O fleet because it is about supporting local vendors and the community by creating opportunities from cruise tourism where the benefits are shared,” he said. “Many of these vendors either employ local people or source materials from local communities to make their products. Giving our guests the opportunity to purchase local-made products raises the profile of Vanuatu as a destination and the skill of its people.”
“The Australian Government seeks to foster links between Australian and Vanuatu businesses,” said Jeremy Bruer, Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu. “Showcasing Vanuatu-made products to Australian consumers will help create economic opportunities for local businesses and also showcase Vanuatu’s rich culture and diverse products.”
IFC’s work in the Pacific is guided by the Pacific Partnership. Australia, New Zealand, and IFC are working together through the Pacific Partnership to reduce poverty in the Pacific by stimulating private sector development. IFC’s regional tourism program focuses on helping Pacific island nations derive greater value from tourism, as well as opening up new markets to boost tourist arrivals to create greater economic opportunity.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
About Carnival Australia
Carnival Australia is the region’s major cruise company and represents seven of the world’s most iconic cruise brands - P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, P&O Cruises World Cruising (UK), Cunard, Seabourn and Holland America Line. Carnival Australia has been at the forefront of record industry growth with these brands representing about 70 per cent of the region’s cruise market. More than one million Australians now take a cruise holiday anywhere in the world. The majority of Australian cruise passengers continue to take voyages close to home with Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific collectively accounting for more than two-thirds of total passenger numbers. The South Pacific remains one of the most popular destinations for cruise ships based in this region.