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.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
IFC’s work in the Pacific is guided by the Pacific Partnership, through which we work with the Australia and New Zealand governments to stimulate private sector investment and reduce poverty in the region.
About Australian Aid
On 18 June Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs launched a new development policy, Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability. Australia’s aid program has a stronger focus on private sector development, including aid for trade, recognising that the private sector is the primary driver of economic growth and poverty reduction. Australia is investing in education, health, humanitarian assistance, and empowering women and girls, reflecting the links between human development and economic growth. Australia’s aid effort is focused firmly in the Indo-Pacific.
About Carnival Australia
Carnival Australia was formed in July 2004 to meet the growing demand for cruising and the number of Carnival Corporation & plc cruise companies homeporting ships from Australia and New Zealand. Since then Carnival Australia has led the rapid expansion of the industry which has seen a 150 per cent increase in passenger numbers over the last five years alone with 834,000 Australians taking a cruise holiday in 2013 with 596,000 of them sailing on Carnival Australia brand ships. Today Carnival Australia represents three homeported brands in Australia – Carnival Cruise Lines, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises – as well as another four international cruise brands that visit the region annually – Cunard Line, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises World Cruising and Seabourn. For more information, visit www.carnivalaustralia.com.au