One year on from its first visit to the undiscovered paradise of Mare in the Loyalty Islands, P&O Cruises has become a welcome part of the island community with residents embracing the positive impacts of sustainable cruise tourism.
On April 15, 2012, P&O Cruises became the first cruise line to visit Mare with its ships Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl making 21 calls to the island in the following 12 months.
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said the cruise line was thrilled to have become such an important part of the remote community of Mare, which is located off the east coast of New Caledonia.
“Right from the start we knew Mare was a very special destination that our passengers would love and we wanted to make sure that we provided access in a way that benefited the local community and ensured the island would remain truly unspoiled. I’m pleased to say that we have achieved this and are continuing to work with the Mare community on sustainable tourism,” Ms Sherry said.
Jean Waheo from the Syndicate Initiative of Mare (Cruise Ships Welcome Committee) said the local community appreciated the opportunities that came with the cruise ship visits.
“A year ago, cruise ships were a curiosity for our local community. Today they have become part of Mare festivities, including avocado festivals and other important local events. We can see the great economic feedback that cruise ships bring to our island and we really want to turn this opportunity into a sustainable activity for our future generations,” Mr Waheo said.
Loyalty Island Province Tourism Agent and fellow member of the committee Omayra Naisseline said the cruise ship visits were having a positive impact on her home.
“Mare people are motivated to make the most of the visits with new touristic and agricultural projects creating a whole new generation of entrepreneurs,” Mrs Naisseline said.
“Yejele beach is as pristine as ever and the Mare people are enjoying sharing their home and offering visitors a dose of warm island hospitality.”
P&O Cruises worked with the local community to build a special jetty and boardwalk in Mare’s Tadine Harbour, allowing cruise ships to dock and providing passengers with access to the bay’s crystal clear waters. Amenities have also been constructed at Yejele beach.
The cruise line has also been working with the local community to provide English language courses so that more residents can get involved with cruise tourism.
Since P&O Cruises put Mare on the cruise map one year ago, Princess Cruises has made one visit and Carnival Cruise Lines has called at the island four times.
For more information visit www.pocruises.com.au phone 13 24 94 or see a licensed travel agent.