Vanuatu says Welkam back to cruising

Vanuatu says Welkam back to cruising

Port Vila was buzzing on Wednesday as Vanuatu welcomed its first international cruise ship after over two years of border closures.

With over 2,000 passengers onboard, P&O Australia’s Pacific Encounter was welcomed into Port Vila on the morning of Wednesday, 9 November, by a group of traditional warriors blowing Bubu shells, singing ladies, handicraft vendors, transport drivers, government officials, cruise industry stakeholders, diplomatic officials, and other partner agencies.

The newly elected Prime Minister, the Honorable Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau Maukoro, officiated the welcome ceremony.

“Thank you for gracing our shores again! Indeed, we welcome you to visit our different islands. The cruise industry represents an important sector in our economic development, and today marks another beginning for our recovery,” he said.

The newly appointed Minister of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business, the Honorable Matai Seremiah, congratulated and acknowledged the contribution from Carnival and P&O Cruises towards cruise development and community engagement in Vanuatu, particularly through its sponsorship and outreach program with the Vanuatu Beach Volleyball Association and the donation of a brand-new ambulance to the Vanuatu Promedical program.

Throughout the morning, Port Vila came to life to accommodate guests. The Mama’s handicraft and Port Vila main markets were in full swing, and cruise passengers, aviation tourists and locals were seen perusing the crafts and vibrant local food selection.

Cruise tourists with local vendors in Port Vila City Market

Transport providers, local tour operators and shore expedition companies were all smiles as they greeted visitors before whisking them off to spend the day around the island visiting popular spots such as Eden on The River, Eton Beach, Blue Lagoon, Mele Cascades, the Vanuatu Jungle Zipline and Back to Eden Vanuatu.

“It has been great so far, and we are so happy to finally receive our first cruise ship today. We are working hard to continue reviving and developing our shore expedition activities, and we cannot do this without the support of our local community leaders, tour operators, transport providers, government agencies and most importantly, the people of Vanuatu,” said Simone Pritchard, managing director of Vanuatu Tours Company.

14 Ni-Vanuatu nationals were part of the crew onboard the Pacific Encounter, which was acknowledged by Marguerite Fitzgerald, president, of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises, during the welcome formalities.

Smaller expedition ships are set to arrive throughout November to complement the dispersal of tourism to Vanuatu’s smaller islands and other Provinces, showcasing that Vanuatu offers a real-life changing adventure.

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