MSC Cruises To Visit Alotau In 2020
MSC Cruises is set to make its maiden entrance to the PNG tourism market when it visits Alotau next year.
The entrance of MSC Cruises will provide a large influx of tourists direct from the European tourism market. MSC Cruises is among the top five cruise companies in the world and will provide yet another platform for Alotau and its status as one of two major tourism hubs in the country, when a MSC cruise vessel is expected in March next year.
Milne Bay Tourism Bureau manager Sioni Sioni confirmed the arrival of MSC Cruises, saying they will provide an opportunity for European tourists to directly sample what PNG has to offer through ports such as Alotau, which is also confirmed on its official website.
“This is going to be different because P&O (Cruises Australia) usually brings in Australians and some people from other parts of the world holidaying in Australia can get a cruise ship as part of their holiday tour.
“But MSC Cruises is going to bring people directly from Europe as it has a largely European clientelle and their ships are largely bigger. “This time we are going to be looking at 4000 people per ship,” Mr Sioni said.
He added that this would present unique challenges on the town to ensure it provides the required activities needed to entertain the visit. “How we are going to entertain these people, even infrastructure to support them, and even when they visit these places, how do we control this traffic.
“Cruise ship traffic is good but sometimes it can overwhelm the services and it can bring a lot of disruptions. “So we are thankful at the moment that most cruise ship visits are one day visits. P&O cruises have been operating to Milne Bay since 2013, especially in Alotau, Kitava Island, and Kiriwina’s Kaibola beach.
In 2019 alone more than 20 cruise ships from P&O visited the province carrying no less than 2000 tourists per visit. These also include, super yachts, smaller expeditionary ships that are ships that carry anything from 150 to 300 passengers.
Sioni added that cruises provide the biggest part of the tourism arrivals in the province and have the smallest footprint in terms of maintenance as they do not put much pressure on local facilities.
“In 2018 much of our overseas visitors were actually cruise tourists, so it is a very important part of our tourism market and it is a low maintenance market because these people are coming on a ship where their accommodation or meals and their hotels are basically floating up to our villages.
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