15pc rise in cruise earnings for Fiji

The Viking Sun cruiseliner berthed at the Kings Wharf in Suva yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

The Viking Sun cruiseliner berthed at the Kings Wharf in Suva last month. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

FIJI earned $10.4 million in cruise earnings last year, a 15 per cent increase compared with 2016, says Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism permanent secretary Shaheen Ali.

Mr Ali said the cruise sector was becoming an important segment in the Fijian tourism industry and had been growing phenomenally around the world, confirming that the number of cruise vessels to Fiji had also been increasing year-on-year.

“Depending upon the size of the vessel, between 500 to 3000 tourists, along with as many as 1000 crew members, disembark at the multi-purpose ports of entry of Suva and Lautoka each time a cruise vessel calls,” he said.

Mr Ali made the statements as he launched a six-month study yesterday with tourism sector representatives, donors, and business operators. Carnival Australia is playing a key role in the study, with additional insights gathered from regional and round-the-world cruise operators.

“By surveying cruise passengers, local businesses, and cruise companies, this study will help us understand the sector better and how to continue to diversify our tourism products, improve the cruise experience, and ensure that cruise visitors spend more onshore and on local service providers,” he said.

The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the cruise tourism industry to measure the economic impact of cruising in Fiji.

The study — supported by the Australian Government — will help the Fijian Government and companies to sustainably grow the sector and increase benefits to local businesses. Fiji receives Australian and New Zealand based cruises, trans-Pacific, and Round-the-World cruise vessels.

The main ports of call in Fiji are Dravuni Island, Port Denarau (Nadi), Lautoka, Savusavu, and Suva.

The IFC’s work in advising on tourism in Fiji is supported under the Australia-IFC Fiji partnership. According to a statement from IFC, the economic impact assessment will:

– Quantify the direct and indirect economic impacts of cruise tourism in Fiji, generating baseline data on the effect of cruise tourism on the economy.

– Identify and quantify through a cost-benefit analysis, opportunities to inform investment decisions by the government, donor partners, and the industry to further grow cruise tourism and its links to the Fijian economy.

Kantar TNS Australia, one of the world’s leading data, insight and consultancy companies, is leading the economic impact study and cost-benefit analysis. Kantar TNS previously worked with IFC on similar studies in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands.

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