Representatives from Vanuatu’s Tourism Office eagerly talked about the return of cruises at ITB Asia 2022.
Following the lifting of all travel restrictions in early September, Vanuatu officially confirmed its trial reopening to international cruise on November 9.
The National Cruise Tourism Management Committee (NCTMC), led by the Department of Tourism (DoT), has endorsed the “trial” return of cruise ships to Vanuatu’s waters commencing on November 9, 2022, after more than two years of border closure. It comes after all requirements and restrictions to enter the archipelago were dropped on September 12.
Commenting on the news, James Bule, Vanuatu Minister of Tourism said: “We are thrilled to see our first international cruise ships returning to our shores, as it represents a lot for our communities and domestic tourism business sector, which rely heavily on the cruise supply chain. Our taxi, buses, tour operators, transfer companies, handicraft, Vanuatu made items shops, tour activities and many more benefit from the cruise market. The Government welcomes the first trial commencing on November 9 for a month leading onto the official resumption of cruise tourism on December 1, 2022.”
Maritime safety protocols are paramount in the sector and Vanuatu authorities have been in direct consultation with cruise operators since July to agree on a safe pathway for restarting the calendar of the cruising industry.
The first ship, the Pacific Encounter of P&O Cruises Australia, is scheduled to depart from Brisbane to Port-Vila on November 9, 2022. A second cruise ship of P&O Cruises, the Pacific Adventure, will sail from Sydney to Mystery Island on November 18, followed by Port-Vila and Luganville in the following days. They will however have a cap on the number of passengers.
Vanuatu authorities present at ITB Asia can communicate more details on the return of further cruise ships from December 1st, 2022.