Late last month, the Cook Islands was represented at the very first South Pacific Cruise Forum in Tahiti hosted by the South Pacific Cruise Alliance.
- Cook Islands Tourism wants to grow the business of cruise tourism.
- Representatives attended an expo-style forum in Tahiti.
- Cruise ship visits recognised as a small but important part of Cook Islands industry.
The Cruise Forum had a regional focus dedicated to strengthening and growing the business of cruise tourism in the South Pacific.
Cook Islands Tourism team Christian Mani and Metua Vaiimene led a small delegation to the forum including representatives from Ports Authority and Turama Travel Group.
Other countries at the forum included American Samoa, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, PNG, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the hosts French Polynesia.
Vaiimene says the forum allowed for operators, port agencies and national tourism organisations to meet directly with international cruise line representatives to conduct business meetings to strengthen communication and collaboration on cruise itineraries for the region.
The forum meetings were not only important for marketing the destination and promoting individual tour operators and product suppliers, but also for the networking of national tourism organisations and government agencies.
Some of the high profile international participants that were at the forum included Sheldon Thompson, port and product operations manager for Royal Caribbean; Chrystal Morgan, te director itinerary planning for the Holland America Line Group, and Michael Mihajlov, director destination management for Carnival Australia ialong with representatives from Ponant, Princess Cruises, Carnival UK, Carnival Australia, Seabourn, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the Chairmen of Cruise St Lawrence and Cruise New Zealand.
Along with an expo-style event where destinations, operators and products were showcased, there was also a series of lectures and presentations from international leaders in the industry.
Cook Islands Tourism was able to build relationships with the international cruise lines that were represented and learned what other island destinations are doing in this industry.
Vaiimene says cruise tourism remains a small but important part of the tourism industry and the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation invests in these destination marketing activities accordingly.