I thought I'd never see the day when tourists are going to the Eastern islands of Fiji - to Lau. I assumed the Lauan people don't want the disturbance of strangers peeking inside their villages and so on. Well, the tourists are going there - perhaps viewing much of the area from the comfort of a luxury boat, but it's a change alright.
Fiji offers maiden cruise to Lau
Bue Lagoon Cruises, Fiji Islands has created a world-first tourism opportunity by offering cruises to the 'untouched' Lau group. Tourists visiting Fiji will now have an opportunity to witness first-hand the beautiful Lau group of islands with Blue Lagoon Cruises, the first operator to cruise the ‘untouched’ archipelago. The decision to sail into this region is seen as catalyst for a new and exciting chapter for Fiji tourism.
Blue Lagoon Cruises CEO Tim Stonhill said the new Lau cruise represented a tremendous opportunity for cruise lovers seeking something very different, to experience a beautiful part of the world not normally experienced by international tourism.
“Not only will our passengers be some of the first people to visit this pristine region, they will also be presented with a rare insight into four ancient, unique and living cultures – Melanesian, Micronesian, Polynesian and Lauan,“ he said.
“Our decision to sail into this region opens up a new and exciting chapter for Fiji tourism.”
“At the same time by operating this program in a very controlled manner we are helping to create a sustainable and environmentally responsible tourism opportunity to the benefit of all Lauan people.”
Echoing Stonhill’s words, the Chairman of The Vanua Balavu Tourism Council, Jone Vave, whose committee has played a major role in helping to make the new program possible, said he is over the moon with Blue Lagoon Cruises’ decision to begin cruising into the region.
“Everyone here is thrilled and very excited with this development and the opportunity it presents for us to present our unique culture, history and unspoiled natural environment to the world,” he said.
Tourism Fiji chief executive Josefa Tuamoto told Fijilive they were pleased with the move by Blue Lagoon Cruises to include the Lau group in its itinerary.
This he said, is well within governments’ policy of encouraging the growth of tourism into rural areas. "This will hopefully assist in drawing tourism investment into the Lau group," Tuamoto said.
From 16 May 2011, the boutique cruise specialist’s 35-berth MV Mystique Princess will set sail on its inaugural voyage to the Lau Islands as part of a seven-day itinerary.
The ship’s crew will be complimented by a local cultural expert who will join the voyage to provide presentations and background on the unique regions to be visited en route.
Highlights of the Lau visit, visited by Captain James Cook in 1774, include Qilaqila Island, the jewel in the crown of the Lau group’s ‘Bay of Islands’. This is where passengers will in effect be among the first ever humans – certainly the first non-Fijians - to have swum in these crystal clear waters where visibility extends beyond 80 feet.
Pricing for the seven-day cruise program starts from FJD4305 per person twin share.
Source:Blue Lagoon Cruises, Fiji Islands.
I wonder how much of the FJD4305 goes to the people of the islands in Lau?