Four (4) Micronesian islands of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Christmas Island will benefit from a series of Pacific Port preparedness workshops over the next two weeks.
This will be conducted by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) under the European Union funded Pacific Regional Tourism Capacity Building Programme (PRTCBP).
SPTO CEO Mr Ilisoni Vuidreketi, such programmes are undertaken to develop and strengthen the capacity of cruise destinations in Micronesia and the region.
“One of the main objectives of port preparedness workshops is to grow and develop a sustainable cruise tourism sector through improved on-shore products and services and closer coordination of policies and operations by all key stakeholders,” he said.
He said the training is aimed at benefiting public sector policy makers and regulators, port authority administrators, cruise line service providers, local tour and transport operators, tourist guides, tourist activity operators and other related service providers at the ports of call.
“SPTO through this capacity building programme wants to be able to also give the local cruise industry stakeholders the opportunity to address issues they face when handling visiting cruise ships, how they can improve on these and more,” he said.
MrVuidreketi said that most SPTO member countries do not have a designated cruise committee or working group that can deal with preparations, organising and operations on cruise visit day. Most don’t have a policy like a National Cruise Plan that could be a guideline for all private and public sector stakeholders involved in this industry, he said.
“Therefore, SPTO in Day 2 in each of these in country trainings, helps to facilitate this by working with the NTO to set up a group if there isn’t already one and to help start up a short to medium term plan for the Committee,” he said.
Mr Vuidreketi added that this will help take them through 1 or 2 years, with specific focus on operations on the ports – from meet and greet, to best practices for tour operators, port facilities, town/city readiness on cruise day, diversification of tours, souvenirs sold etc.
He said that the core workshop materials will be available on the Pacific Cruise Manual microsite http://spto.org/cruise which is a one-stop-shop online portal for port information on sixteen (16) South Pacific Island destinations.
The series of workshops will run from February 27 to March 14.