Peter Vincent, Chief Executive of Papua New Guinea’s Tourism Promotion Authority, announced today the adoption of a comprehensive cruise development strategy for the nation. The strategy will be released in full on March 30. Key elements will be available to cruise lines and others for whom PNG is destined to become a focus of interest over the next five years.

The project has been conducted by CHART Management Consultants, led by cruise industry strategy and management expert Ted Blamey. It follows an intensive period of research, destination visits, reconnaissance and analysis during the fourth quarter of 2009. The project team also interviewed a wide range of stakeholders in Papua New Guinea and cruise line executives in Australia, the USA and elsewhere.

CHART’s proposed Cruise Ship Development Strategy, by attracting more cruise ship calls to the ports and the islands/ beaches/ villages of Papua New Guinea, will generate increased benefits to the national economy, to local communities and to those businesses involved in tourism and shipping. The approach seeks to be sensitive to the needs of the people and to help preserve the unique culture and environment of PNG while delivering value to the cruise lines and enriching their guests’ experience.

The consultants conclude that there is a real opportunity for Papua New Guinea in the modern cruise era. Not only are lines searching for new destinations and unique experiences but also PNG’s unspoiled character and natural beauty have real appeal. The report observes that, although Papua New Guinea’s major ports have good wharves and navigational services, it is the passenger experience ashore that is critical. Many recommendations are made to improve port presentation, tour options, land transport and tour operator and guide services.

But it points out that the port city destinations are only part of the story. The exploration cruise lines have already discovered that Papua New Guinea’s islands, beaches and villages reveal an even more attractive and authentic side to the destination. For the nation to earn real benefits from cruising, larger ships should be visiting such places too. Creative projects have been proposed that bring the benefits to local communities while ensuring the villages visited are not swamped or stressed by the arrival of many passengers. The strategy proposes the initial effort be in the Milne Bay region with its concentration of idyllic islands, favourable position close to the major cruise routes from Australia and good operational base at Alotau.

Said Mr. Jerry Agus, TPA’s Manager of Policy & Planning: “This is a wonderful piece of work. We have unanimously agreed that the Strategy is one of the best, both simple and crystal clear for us to follow through and implement with ease. This truly reflects the unparalleled experience and knowledge CHART Management Consultants has in the cruise sector”.

Adopting the strategy means Papua New Guinea is committing to the development of the business and to serving the needs of upscale mid-size and contemporary ships as well as the expedition operators (who have already found much success there).

The Tourism Promotion Authority and PNG Ports will be represented at a senior level this March at Cruise Shipping Miami . “We wish to reveal what a special cruise opportunity the waters of Papua New Guinea offer and to ensure we attract and deliver to both cruise lines and their guests” said Mr. Vincent, TPA’s CEO.