The Papua New Guinea Government and Carnival Australia made this joint announcement after a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Morauta Haus on the 10th of May, 2012. The entry of P & O Cruises is a major boost for PNG tourism and comes after years of hard work by the PNG Ports Corporation Limited and the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority in developing the cruise tourism sector.
Carnival Australia, which operates a combined fleet of seven P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises' vessels, recently announced that P&O Cruises will do a series of cruises to PNG beginning in October 2013. The joint announcement by Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, and Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, is the outcome of the ‘Cruise Ship Development Strategy’ produced by Australian-based CHART Management Consultants for the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority as part of its Tourism Master Plan 2007-2017.
In highlighting PNG’s strengths as a cruise destination, the strategy describes the region as ‘one of the last tourism frontiers, undiscovered by western travellers’ with areas only accessible to tourists by sea. Prime Minister O’Neill said: “The Government and people of Papua New Guinea welcome P&O Australia’s ship to our shores. We are taking steps to ensure cruising becomes an important contributor to our nation. Infrastructure improvements are part of that strategy.” In a sign of growing interest in PNG as a cruise destination, P&O Cruises recently added two dedicated PNG cruise itineraries to its 2013-2014 program. Pacific Dawn will sail to Milne Bay with calls at Alotau, Doini Island and the Trobriand Islands.
“We always believed in Papua New Guinea’s potential as a cruise destination and this has been confirmed by the strong interest following the announcement of P&O Cruises’ initial three cruises to the Milne Bay area,” Ms Sherry said. “Papua New Guinea is one of the most remote and untouched corners of the world, which is so close to Australia geographically but a million miles away in terms of its amazing scenery and fascinating culture.
“The PNG Government’s decision to accelerate funding for the port upgrade at Alotau and for necessary hydrographic surveys in the Trobriand Islands is a positive investment to achieve the economic benefits of regular cruise ship visits. “Our aim is for the initial October to April 2013-2014 cruise itineraries to PNG to be the first of many as this relationship continue to grow.”
Ms Sherry said the Milne Bay area would be popular with Australian travellers for its exquisite scenery, its colourful culture and for its historic World War II links for many Australian families.“It is very satisfying to see the strategy developed for PNG is already bearing such rich fruit,” said Ted Blamey, Principal of CHART Management Consultants. “By facilitating operations for cruise lines and developing port and island facilities, PNG plans to attract more ship visits and so bring real benefits to the national economy, local communities and related businesses. This is while being sensitive to the needs of the people, to their rich and unique cultures and diverse environments.
“Finally, the strategy is to deliver great guest experiences to those lucky enough to be cruising PNG. P&O’s leadership is greatly admired”, Mr. Blamey concluded.
“We are excited that P&O ships are soon to visit our beautiful Milne Bay region” said Mr Peter Vincent, CEO of PNG Tourism Promotion Authority.“The Strategy, which holds great promise for PNG, builds on this over time to extend the benefits to many other parts of the country”, he added. “We look forward to what we hope will be many visits by Carnival Australia’s fine fleet”.
PNG Ports CEO Stanley Alphonse said they were also excited about the entry of Carnival Cruises. “As part of PNG Port’s plans to support the development of cruise tourism, it has undertaken some new initiatives,” said Mr Alphonse.“These include the introduction of the Volunteer Youth Ambassadors as tour guides, temporary refund of pilotage charges for all bona fide cruise ships, rehabilitation and maintenance of our berths and wharves and purchase of air-conditioned inflatable tents for Port Moresby port. With the assistance of PNG Tourism Promotion Authority, inflatable tents will also be purchased for other ports frequented by cruise ships,” he said