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 UntitledCredit: Vanuatu Tourism Office / David Kirkland

Media Release - Port Vila, 08th November 2022: The month of November is an exciting one for the Tourism Industry as it is set to be the trial month for cruise ships to Vanuatu. A total of 4 cruise vessels will visit Mystery Island, Port Vila and Luganville throughout the month. The Vanuatu Government, through the National Cruise Tourism Management Committee (NCTMC), led by the Department of Tourism (DoT) has advised that with the arrival of the first cruise ship, we will see our transport and handicraft businesses starting to get busier. Interestingly, there will also be a double berthing on the 19th of November in which Port Vila’s Harbour will be hosting the Pacific Adventure during the day and later in the afternoon hosting the Ovation of the Seas overnight and departing the next day.

“This trial is very important as it prepares Vanuatu the opportunity to test our cruise preparedness and our systems on ground after more than two (2) years of border closure,” says the Acting Director of the Department of Tourism (DoT), Mr. William Naviti.

“Since the cruise ships are operating less than maximum passenger volume it allows us the space to strategically navigate and pinpoint the areas that we, alongside all our stakeholders, need to collaborate and improve on as part of role to coordinate policy to fulfil the objectives of the Sustainable Cruise Tourism Development Strategy and the Sustainable Tourism Policy 2019 - 2030”, states the Acting Director Naviti.

Numerous consultations, awareness and training have also been facilitated towards tourism product operators, land transport providers and water taxis, as part of the cruise preparedness plan in all three ports of Mystery Island, Luganville and Port Vila.
The NCTMC recommended a soft-opening to be a sound one despite the challenges, in order to allow more tourism operators and products to be market-ready for further cruise resumption.
In celebrating this resumption of cruise, the Vanuatu Tourism Office’s Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Adela Issachar Aru, emphasised on the timing of the arrival of the cruise “We are very excited for this opportunity to see the cruise return in 2022 as we believe that the trials could not have happened at a better time after our border reopening in July of this year. This is the next port of entry and market that the cruise industry is waiting for in order to deliver our adventure experiences to our visiting cruise travellers. 
“Our efforts to increase PR and brand awareness of how great Vanuatu is as an adventure destination is for our cruise passengers to capture their Vanuatu moments each time they berth into Mystery Island, Port Vila and Luganville ports of call. The Australian and NZ travellers arriving on our shores are keen to explore places, create new friends, gain new experiences, taste something different and purchase a memoir of their visit, therefore let us welcome them with our warm smiles and friendly hospitality once more” says Chief Executive Officer of VTO, Mrs. Adela Issachar Aru.
Other ongoing preparations included the assistance of the Port Vila Town Council who are taking the lead in a clean-up campaign all the way from the airport to the wharf road in which local communities were engaged through existing ward councillors. In line with this activity, the Department of Public Works and the Department of Ports & Harbour are effectively working to improve the maintenance and environment in all ports of call for cruise ship berthing. 

With high concerns for traffic and safety raised during various stakeholders meetings through the NCTMC, the Vanuatu Police Force have developed the Port Vila wharf traffic management plan which contains very stringent traffic measures. The Department of Ports & Harbour have also advised that Vanuatu being a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meant that Vanuatu is bound by the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code which has provisions in place for enhanced security measures and standard procedures as per requirement. ISPS Code applies to passengers on international voyages, some international cargo ships, self-propelled mobile drilling units within Vanuatu territorial waters, and all port facilities serving such ships or vessels.
The Government of Vanuatu through its agencies acknowledges all the support prepared together by both government, private and civil society for the welcome arrival of the first cruise ship arrival on 09th November 2022 at the Port Vila main wharf and also for the month for the cruise trail for Vanuatu in 2022.