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Monday 22 August 2022 | Written by Sian Solomon | Published in New Caledonia, Regional


Cruise ships to return to New Caledonia after long absence
P&O Pacific Explorer docked at Queens Wharf, Auckland on 12 August, 2022. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Cruise ship tourism in New Caledonia will resume in the autumn after a two-and-a-half year disruption due to covid-19.

P&O Australia's Pacific Explorer is scheduled to arrive in Noumea on October 4 and then sail to Lifou in the Loyalty Islands before returning to Sydney.

Before the pandemic, Lifou alone would receive about 200,000 cruise ship tourists a year.

Cruise ship tourism in New Caledonia slowed in February 2020 when people in Mare, fearful of the virus spreading, forced ships from Australia and Vanuatu to skip stopovers there.

Within days, Lifou and the Isle of Pines followed suit.

New Caledonia remained Covid-19 free until March last year.

The last pandemic-related restrictions were lifted on August 1.

Sports tourism deal

The Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the International University Sports Federation Oceania (FISU) to promote and strengthen sports tourism and the Pacific region.

Pacific Tourism Organisation CEO, Christopher Cocker said sport is significant across the Pacific region.

FISU Oceania President David Schmude also acknowledged the importance of the MOU between the two organisations.

"FISU Oceania is looking forward to further connecting the university sport and tourism sectors in the Pacific region via our MOU with SPTO," he said.

"This connection will not only provide more opportunities to host international university sports events in Oceania nations but will also enable us to promote the Pacific region to a globally connected university audience.".