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Cruise Tourism a Potential Growth Driver for Solomon Islands Economy

Honiara, Solomon Islands 5 July, 2016 — Cruise tourism could grow five -fold, from $0.6 million to $3.3 million (AUD) by 2017, according to research presented today at the launch of Assessment of the Economic Impact of Cruising to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands .
The study, commissioned by the Australian Government, World Bank Group member IFC and the region’s leading cruise operator Carnival Australia, looked at the Solomon Islands main port, Honiara and Papua New Guinea’s main ports. The study identifies a number of opportunities and investments to improve cruise tourism development and capitalise further on the growing sector.
Solomon Islands’ Minister of Tourism, Bartholomew Parapolo , Australian High Commissioner, Andrew Byrne, Carnival Australia Executive Chairman, Ann Sherry AO, and IFC Resident Representative, Vsevolod Payevskiy announced the results of the study at an event in held in Honiara today.
Following a similar study in Vanuatu in 2014 - where 237 cruise ships bring $34 million annually - Minister Parapolo asserted, “Having this data, for the first time, highlights the importance and potential of cruise tourism, while also identifying much needed opportunities for Government to address in the growing sector. Learning from Vanuatu’s success, Solomon Islands is keen to reap similar benefits, and this report helps identify where the correct investment should be made into the sector.”
Australian High Commissioner Andrew Byrne said tourism is an important source of incomes and jobs for Solomon Islands. Australia is committed to strengthening links with businesses across the region, as part of its economic diplomacy agenda.  
“This assessment will help guide our work in our partnership with Carnival Australia to maximise opportunities that cruise tourism offers Solomon Islands”, the High Commissioner said.  
According to the study, each cruise ship arriving in Honiara brings $46,169 worth of direct benefits to a range of businesses and organizations. The study interviewed passengers, businesses and government officials. Additional data was supplied by the region’s major cruise company, Carnival Australia.
The World Bank Group, through IFC, has been working to attract more tourists to the Pacific region. “Cruise tourism can boost household incomes and create jobs for local people,” Vsevolod Payevskiy said. “We hope that, as with other Pacific countries, Solomon Islands can make use of this study and sustainably grow their tourism industry, particularly in the more remote provinces of the country.”
Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry said the study was a key outcome of its partnership with DFAT to support sustainable development in the South Pacific.
Through its cruise brands P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises, Carnival Australia will have six ships visit the Solomon Islands this year - a three-fold increase from last year.
“Carnival Australia has a long and harmonious relationship with the Pacific Islands, its people and its communities.  We have a commitment to practise sustainable tourism and ensure communities benefit from the growth of cruising,” Ms Sherry said.
“This report is significant because it confirms, for the first time, the long value chain of cruising, which reaches deep into the Pacific Islands to deliver economic opportunity.
“Importantly, it is also a forward looking document that paints a picture of opportunities for destinations in the South Pacific to take advantage of the benefits of cruise tourism .
“We look forward to continue to develop rewarding and positive relationships with governments and communities with cruise tourism creating shared value for all.”
Tourism is vital to the sustainable growth of the Pacific islands, contributing an estimated three percent of the Oceania region’s gross domestic product and 12 percent of total employment in 2014, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, IFC uses capital, expertise, and influence to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, IFC’s long term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .
IFC’s work in the Pacific is guided by the Pacific Partnership, through which IFC works with the Australian and New Zealand governments to stimulate private sector investment and reduce poverty in the region.
About Australian Aid
Australia’s aid program promotes Australia’s national interests by contributing to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. The aid program focusses on two development outcomes: supporting private sector development and strengthening human development. Australia’s Ministerial Statement on engaging the private sector in aid and development - Creating shared value through partnership was launched on 31 August 2015. The statement invites business to work with the Australian Government to help solve our region’s development challenges. The Strategy recognises the private sector as a driver of economic growth, incomes and jobs, and as a partner for government to achieve more effective and sustainable aid outcomes. For more information, visit www.dfat.gov.au .
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.