Carnival Australia, Carnival Corporation’s outpost for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, made the first ever cruise ship visit to Timor-Leste when P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel docked at the young nation’s capital Dili last weekend.
Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry and Steve Bracks, special adviser on governance to the Timor-Leste Prime Minister, hailed Pacific Jewel’s visit as a significant step forward for the country.
”After years of struggle, Timor-Leste finally won its independence only in 2002, but even five years ago few could have imagined nearly 2,000 cruise tourists going ashore in Dili,” Sherry said.
”Australia has strong ties to Timor-Leste on its path to nationhood and there is no doubt that Australians have been willing the Timorese people and their country to succeed. So, the arrival of the first cruise ship is an affirmation of Timor-Leste’s potential as an attractive cruise destination and the part tourism can play to build its economy.”
Saturday’s Timor-Leste call during Pacific Jewel’s return from dry dock and major refurbishment in Singapore was an opportunity to test Dili’s capacity to host a superliner visit.
”Having hundreds of cruise visitors come ashore in Dili to experience the sights, sounds and culture of Timor-Leste is another positive stepping stone in the country’s progress as a free and independent nation,” Bracks said.
”Pacific Jewel’s visit to Dili has been keenly anticipated by the government and the local community who are keen to make tourism a much valued feature of the local economy in a country that has so much to offer visitors in cultural experiences.”
A second P&O Cruises’ call to Timor-Leste is scheduled for September 2016 when Pacific Eden will visit Dili.