New chairman of SPCA promises to sustain the ‘Pacific way’ of cruising

Viliami Takau has taken over the role at the South Pacific Cruise Alliance from outgoing chairman Bud Gilroy

New chairman of SPCA promises to sustain the ‘Pacific way’ of cruising

South Pacific Cruise Alliance

Takau (centre back) with members of SPCA at Seatrade Cruise Global 2024

By Laura Hyde |

Viliami Takau, the new chairman of the South Pacific Cruise Alliance (SPCA), has promised to sustain the ‘Pacific way’ of cruising, as he takes over from outgoing chairman, Bud Gilroy.  

Founded in 2011, SPCA represents 10 South Pacific islands states and territories, including American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kingdom of Tonga, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Samoa, The Islands of Tahiti (French Polynesia), Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna. It works with the New Zealand Cruise Association, the Australia Cruise Association, the regional office of Cruise Lines International Association and the Pacific Tourism Organisation to optimise cruise operations and itineraries in the region. 

 South Pacific Cruise Alliance Map

The South Pacific Cruise Alliance represents 10 South Pacific islands states and territories

In recent years the number of cruise stopovers in the region has increased and now accounts for up to eight per cent of the global total. Almost 40 cruise lines sailing 100 ships offer itineraries in the region, which includes several hundred secluded islands and atolls, and 40 per cent of the planet’s coral reefs.  

“In 2023, we exceeded 2019’s business levels overall; shipowners have clearly understood the benefits of investing in this region and offering their customers our unique destinations,” said Gilroy, who served as chairman from 2020-2024. “We’re causing a stir. Crews, managers, and passengers are falling in love with our islands, our way of life and our people. The regional forum dedicated to cruises that we organised in Tahiti in October 2023 clearly demonstrated the potential of maritime tourism for our territories and cultures, which are above all sea oriented. I believe that we have a balance sheet and a good basis to build on until 2030.” 

With cruise visitor numbers to the region returning to pre-pandemic levels, Takau aims to continue promoting cruising as a form of travel that enables people to reconnect with nature and discover different cultures. 

“Beyond the region’s constantly evolving operations, we need to forge medium- and long-term partnerships, so that it’s not just visitors who arrive by sea, but friends, supporters and guests who contribute to and participate in the daily lives of South Sea Islands families during stopovers,” said Takau, who is also CEO for the Tonga Ministry of Tourism.  

“Millennia-old traditions and intimate links the great ocean can be shared when they are respected. The notions of sharing and mutual respect are at the heart of the experience that passengers approaching our islands will have. We are, and will continue to be, increasingly professional and aware of the challenges and expectations of shipowners. We are also attuned to the needs of the cruise industry, many segments of which will find it in their interests to make a lasting commitment to our destinations.” 

Read more about SPCA and its work in the latest issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. 

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