A new study has revealed the value of cruise tourism to Pacific nations of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands could reach $8.6 million combined.
Commissioned by the South Pacific’s leading cruise operator Carnival Australia, the Australian Government and World Bank Group member IFC, found that cruise tourism brought A$5.9 million into Papua New Guinea’s economy last year, while cruise tourism could grow five-fold in the Solomon Islands, from $600,000 to $3.3 million by 2017.
Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry, who travelled to Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea this week to release the report with government representatives, said the study was a key outcome of its partnership with the Australian Government to support sustainable development in the South Pacific.
Between P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises, Carnival Australia will make 26 visits to Papua New Guinea this year, bringing more than 44,000 passengers. This was an eight-fold increase in passenger numbers since 2013.
Sherry said the potential of cruise tourism to the Solomon Islands would be visible later this year when P&O Cruises’ Pacific Eden makes her maiden visit to the nation, while homeported in Cairns.
Pacific Eden’s visit will include the cruise line’s maiden call to Gizo Island on September 30, the day before the ship’s inaugural call to Honiara.
In total, P&O and Princess will have six ship visits to the Solomon Islands this year – a three-fold increase from last year.
“We have a commitment to practise sustainable tourism and ensure communities benefit from the growth of cruising,” Sherry said.
Vital to the sustainable growth of the Pacific islands, tourism contributes an estimated 3 percent of the Oceania region’s gross domestic product and 12 percent of total employment in 2014, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
The study – Assessment of the Economic Impact of Cruising to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands – looked at the Solomon Islands main port, Honiara, and Papua New Guinea’s five main ports, identifying opportunities and investments to improve cruise tourism development and capitalise further on the growing sector.