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US Cruise Liner Eyes Lautoka Port

Carnival cruises is earmarked to base one of their cruise liners under their P & O brand in Fiji. The Fijian government is in talks with an American company to
06 Jan 2016 09:17
US Cruise Liner Eyes Lautoka Port

Carnival cruises is earmarked to base one of their cruise liners under their P & O brand in Fiji.

The Fijian government is in talks with an American company to host one of its tourism cruise liners in Lautoka.

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation reported in a move to be the first for the country indicated that Fiji’s High Commissioner to Australia, Yogesh Punja had said the company, which is based in Australia has seven brands under its name, one of which is P&O Cruises.

Mr Punja said the spin off business from this venture is estimated to rake in more than $25 million.

“An organisation called Carnival Cruises out of Miami and what it is its they’re looking at bringing an entire ship to be based full time in Lautoka to do Fiji island cruises and their Pacific cruises out of Lautoka. So it means crew, food, fuel, you know A to Z is going to go into the ship out of Fiji, so it’s a huge benefit.”

Mr Punja said work is now underway to improve existing jetties on the islands as well as infrastructure for fuelling and supply logistics.

Working with rural development, he says, government has allocated a budget specifically to improve the existing infrastructure.

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) has stated there’s being a 55 percent increase in the number of cruise liners to Fiji and the Pacific.

Fiji has received 62 cruise liners to date, 40 of which have berthed in Suva and 22 at the Lautoka port. The project which is in its preliminary stages is expected to be implemented in 2017.

Negotiations are now being facilitated by Mr Punja with the project to go on-line in 2017.

He said the biggest benefactor of this tourism initiative would be the rural islanders whose islands will become stopovers for the new cruise.

“If each, between a 1000 to 2000 passengers, that’s the capacity of these boats, they spend you know $50 each, that’s a huge input into the economy, so that’s what we’re counting on.”

Mr Punja said the work now begins to ensure the infrastructure is constructed to be able to cater for the cruise liner making it more accessible for logistics and supplies.

He added the Fijian government has allocated a budget specifically for this given the millions of dollars of revenue that would be generated with the project up and running. In a first for Fiji, once finalised, the cruise liner would be based in Lautoka.

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