Vaeafe said the SPCA, a private and public sector cruise alliance made up of members from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Samoa and Tonga, has organised the Pacific’s attendance at Seatrade Cruise Global (SCG) for the past six years.
He said under the new agreement the SPTO, with the support of the SPCA, will take the lead in coordinating the attendance of Pacific island countries from next year. As the peak mandated body for tourism development and marketing in 16 island nations it will work at getting a greater representation at this key industry event.
Vaeafe said the Pacific cruise industry has grown by 43% in the last three years and currently generates around US$640m per year for the
New Caledonia and Vanuatu lead the charge, making up 78% of the total number of cruise ship visits in the South Pacific.
The latest available figures (2015) show that of the 800 cruise ship calls in the region, New Caledonia had 429, Vanuatu 256 and Fiji 115.
Vaeafe pointed out that the Vuna Port in Nuku’alofa has undergone a multi-million dollar upgrade, Samoa is gearing towards further improvements to the Apia wharf and French Polynesia plans to build a new cruise ship terminal by 2020.
He said small island states such as Tuvalu and Kiribati, which receive one or two visiting cruise ships a year, would benefit from the further development of cruise expeditions, involving smaller cruise ships with high yield and low impact cruise visitors.