Samoa is quickly becoming a regular ‘port of call’ for cruise ships visiting the pacific region. The number of cruise ships that docked at the Matautu wharf in the past four years has increased by more than 100% this year.
An average of four vacationing vessels has come to Samoa each year from 2003-2007. A marked improvement in this quantity is evident in this year’s records. Samoa has already hosted 15 cruise liners in the first half of the year. An additional cruise ship docked on Saturday 08th Nov 2008 and another one arrived this morning, Tuesday 11th November 08. Ross Couper of Carnival Australia (part of Carnival Corporation) that operates Princess Cruises in this region (Pacific Sun, Pacific Dawn, Sun Princess and Dawn Princess) assures the local industry that cruise ships do benefit tourism in the country. “A typical 2000+ passenger vessel (similar to the Sun Princess) is equivalent to 12 modern 737’s. The time in port may be short (10 hours) but the economic impact can be immense.”
This is certainly good news for Tourism in Samoa. The Sun Princess Cruise S817 which was at MatautuWharf this past Saturday morning brought to Samoa’s shores a total of two thousand and two (2002) tourists. The voyage is a '28 Day Sydney to Sydney Cruise.’ More than half those passengers were Australian, with significant numbers of onboard travelers from Great Britain, New Zealand, Germany and North America.
The MS Amsterdam Cruise Ship V246 that arrived Tuesday 11th November is transporting 1030 vacationers to Samoa for a one day ‘Shore Excursion’ as part of its’65 Day Asia and Australia Grand Voyage’. It is obvious that cruise shipping has recently become an important addition to Samoa, especially given the improvement of the local wharfing and marina infrastructure. This is supported by Couper who acknowledges that one of Samoa’s positive features making it a likeable destination by cruise ships is the fact that it has a port alongside which is much safer for disembarking cruise guests and it enables the crew to perform essential planned maintenance.
Couper states that other positive aspects which make cruise tourism to Samoa more attractive include “fantastic scenery and culture, enticing tours and the unique destination.” STA is working effectively at the ground level with the cruise operators, local tour operators, handicraft sellers and scenic attraction promoters to successfully plan these ship calls to maximize cruise vacationers’ exposure to Samoa. According to Couper, “the industry to date has been good in this region but has the potential to deliver increased economic benefit to the community.”
With this in mind, STA is in active collaboration with the tourism industry, ports, cruise industry, government and the local community understanding that it will go a long way towards ensuring sustainable cruise tourism in Samoa.