The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, the Honourable Moana Carcasses Kalosil, was today in Australia to witness the signing of a symbolic Memorandum of Understanding between Carnival Australia and AusAID, the Australian Agency for International Development.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations is the first of its kind and was created to encourage sustainable economic development in the Pacific region including support for priority activities in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.
The three year commitment to the MoU follows a successful partnership in which both organisations contributed to AusAID’s Enterprise Challenge Fund to assist island communities in the South Pacific.
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which oversees cruise brands including P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Seabourn and Cunard, said the MoU was an important step forward to enable Pacific Island communities to share in the economic benefits of cruising.
“Carnival Australia welcomes this initiative to work with AusAID by combining our resources, networks and experience to leverage opportunities to enhance economic growth in the Pacific region,” Ms Sherry said.
“The South Pacific is now at the heart of the world’s fastest growing cruise market and the Memorandum of Understanding provides a pathway to transform this growth into lasting benefits from sustainable cruise tourism.”
AusAID Director General, Peter Baxter, said the agreement acknowledged the role that both AusAID and Carnival Australia play in the Pacific.
“AusAID is very pleased to be partnering with a company that plays a vital role in promoting the benefits of tourism in the Pacific region,” Mr Baxter said.
“The agreement identifies areas where AusAID and Carnival can partner to help translate the economic benefits of tourism to the region into better incomes and employment priorities for Pacific Islanders.”
The MoU outlines priority areas for joint cooperation between AusAID and Carnival Australia. In Vanuatu, these include:
· Training packages aligned with Carnival Australia’s ongoing recruitment of Ni-Vanuatu staff for its ships
· Courses for new market vendors and community based businesses along with mentoring for start-up businesses
· Increased direct sourcing of artwork, handicrafts and local produce with an accreditation system to ensure local products meet Australian quarantine standards
· Analysing and quantifying the economic impact of cruise tourism on the Vanuatu economy
Priorities for the AusAID-Carnival Australia partnership in Papua New Guinea include:
· Development of training courses for cruise related business and examination of options for direct sourcing of artwork and handicrafts
· Examination of placing an Australian Business Volunteer on location to analyse tourism development options in the Milne Bay area and assist women’s groups with artefact sales
· Support for tourism product packaging in areas such as diving, bushwalking and cultural events
Ms Sherry said Carnival Australia was proud to be the first private business to have been invited to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with AusAID.
“It is an exciting development that highlights the shared commitment of our two organisations to assist communities in the Pacific region to become active participants in sustainable economic activity,” Ms Sherry said.