L-R: Sally Truong (DFAT), Anthea Smits (TDi), Sandy Olsen (Carnival Australia) with Peter Yates AM (Chairman, Shared Value Project)
Australia’s leading cruise organisation, Carnival Australia, said it was thrilled to receive a prestigious national award for its part in a project supporting indigenous entrepreneurs in the Pacific to develop new shore tour businesses.
Carnival Australia is partnering with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) as well as business accelerator, The Difference Incubator (TDi), to pilot the “Yumi Tourism Partners” project in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.
Called “YuMi” because it means “together” in Bislama, a common language across many Pacific Islands, the pilot project won a Shared Value Award at a special event in Federation Square, Melbourne, last week.
The YuMi project is identifying, developing and accelerating the development of emerging indigenous tourism operators in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea to offer the cruise lines’ guests rich, meaningful and authentic shore tours run by local people.
Already three new shore tour businesses in Vanuatu have been developed, contracting new tours to Carnival Australia’s suite of cruise lines P&O Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard and Holland America Line.
The tours are typically cultural experiences that provide guests with deeper insights into traditional living and also blending traditional practises and values into contemporary society. For example, one tour is based on the many uses of coconut from food to arts, crafts, beauty and even fuel. Another combines activities such as hiking, swimming and snorkelling with storytelling around both modern and ancient history, including traditional customs and beliefs of the people from that specific location.
The YuMi pilot was nominated as the best in the category of “Shared Value Project By An Organisation or Collaboration”, reflecting the partnership with the Federal Government. The Shared Value Awards recognise companies for enhancing the competitiveness of their business while improving social and environmental conditions in the regions in which they operate.
Carnival Australia President Sture Myrmell said the Award for YuMi supported the organisation’s approach of seeking to partner with communities to share the economic benefits of a successful cruising sector.
“Our approach has long been to partner with the communities we visit so that we can share the value of a growing cruise sector in a way that delivers tangible and sustainable benefits,” Mr Myrmell said.
“The Shared Value Award shows the power of businesses to build capacity and prosperity in communities but also support their own business and commercial outcomes at the same time.
“Our guests are looking for authentic and cultural experiences and these tours, delivered by locals, create an opportunity for a richer and more meaningful experience with the culture. And, by matching the need of the tourism industry, these new local businesses will be viable over the long term and, ultimately, better able to deliver economic prosperity to their communities.”
While the first phase of the pilot project has created three new shore tours in Vanuatu, there are at least another eight in the development stage. The pilot project has also kicked off in Alotau, PNG, this month to identify new shore tour businesses ready for fast-tracking.