P&O Cruises joined with the local community on Lifou island to comemmorate 20 years of cruising to the scenic Loyalty Islands in South Pacific.
Visiting Pacific Jewel, Capt. Roger Bilson and his officers were invited to a special ceremony that reflected the contribution of cruising to island’s economy and development of cultural tourism.
P&O Cruises started calling at Lifou in July 1995, when flagship Fairstar made the 1st of 5 calls that year. Lifou was receiving 27 cruise ship visits annually by 2000. By 2010 the number increased to 62. In 2015 over 100 cruise ships will stop at the island. Lifou community hopes to welcome more vacationers.
Pascal Sihaze, Lifou Grand Chief, and a variety of customary members identified the ‘cultural tourism’ concept based on cultural exchanges and human contact. In it Lifou local community could share the Kanak culture, art and traditional knowledge with visitors.
They also understood that sharing their culture and traditions would help the young people on the island to retain features of Lifou's cultural heritage through traditional fishing, art and dance.
According to Michael Mihajlov, Carnival Australia Destinations Director, the line valued the bonds developed with Wetr community over the years. He added that Lifou was a very special place, and they had worked closely with its community to ensure cruise tourism was sustainable as the number of visitors to the island continued to grow.