Development of action plan recommended at Micronesian Island Forum meeting
HAGÅTÑA , Guam – A regional panel of the Micronesian Island Forum has recommended the development of an action plan to facilitate the establishment of the cruise industry in the region.
“Micronesia is somewhat underserved by mainstream, large-ship cruise companies and mass-market tour operators. A small ship cruise line company will benefit from first-mover status,” said Nathan Denight, president of the Guam Visitors Bureau and chairman of the Regional Tourism Committee.
In partnership with the Micronesia Cruise Association, GVB engaged the Pacific Asia Travel Association to form a task force to look into the potential of a homeported cruise line and developing and launching a viable cruise tourism industry.
While tourism is the main economic driver for most islands in the region, the cruise sector remains untapped. Guam capitalizes on post visits that it occasionally receives.
“A homeported small ship cruise line would benefit from a first-mover opportunity and could very likely spur increased investment,” Denight said.
He added that Guam would be the most feasible location for homeporting given it is the main hub in Micronesia. Guam’s significant airport infrastructure and direct access from major international hub markets is the logical location for a homeported cruise line, Denight said.
The task force is projecting 38 one-week sailings within a calendar year, with a capacity of between 50 and 400 passengers, each estimated to spend $1,500 per trip. It is estimated that the cruise industry could bring the region annual revenue of between $5 million and $39.9 million a year.
In a communiqué signed during the recently concluded Micronesian Island Forum, the islands’ chief executives agreed to establish regional workforce development programs to provide continuing job training for current tourism industry employees; and establish a baseline of standards, skills and service requirements.
The also agreed to “Continue efforts on the development of a regional sustainability policy for the tourism industry” and “to advance a regional marketing action plan that incorporates a digital roadmap, bringing unique, adventurous, eco experiences of Micronesia onto the World Wide Web and stimulate the regional economy through sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism development.”
While the Micronesian region’s cruise industry development is in its nascent stage, Guam and Saipan travelers can embark on Asia’s booming cruise industry through the recently launched Star Cruises, the first international cruise line to homeport in the Philippines. Superstar Virgo, a 13-story 935-cabin cruise liner, is the flag ship of Star Cruises.
In collaboration with Asia Cruise Cooperation — an alliance between Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines — Resorts World Manila and Star Cruises have created a package exclusively for the Guam and Saipan market.
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan for Marianas Variety, May 12, 2017