THE inaugural cruise to the Lau Group by Captain Cook Cruises MV Reef Endeavour will create employment opportunities for villagers in the island group.
Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities Timoci Natuva welcomed the initiative by the cruise company, renowned for touring the Yasawa waters since 1996.
"The direct employment in the tourism sector is estimated at 39,500 or 11.7 per cent of total employment in 2012," Mr Natuva said.
"The direct effect of new employment opportunities (like this), tour guides and entertainers in the islands are some of the forms of employment that will be created by this new development.
"It also provides an opportunity for small village businesses such as the sale of art and craft products like wood carvings, baskets and necklaces by villagers. It is also an opportune time for villagers to showcase their talents."
Captain Cook Cruises executive director Jackie Haworth-Charlton said they had been planning the cruise for more than 18 months.