P&O Cruises’ effort to enable South Pacific island communities to benefit from the surge in cruising has taken another positive turn with guests now able to choose Vanuatu-grown Tanna Coffee at the cruise line’s onboard cafes.
Having recently added Vanuatu Natural water to the onboard offering, coffee grown in the shadow of an active volcano on beautiful Tanna Island is now available to discerning coffee lovers.
In 1774, Captain James Cook became the first European to visit Tanna Island and gave it its name – derived from a local word meaning earth. Cook would be amazed to see Tanna Island today with hundreds of individual coffee plantations and a small but burgeoning coffee industry.
P&O Cruises was looking for a flavoursome single origin coffee as an added choice for passengers and Tanna Coffee came to notice thanks to a chance encounter.
Sture Myrmell, the line’s Vice President Hotel Operations, enjoyed a great cup of coffee at a cafe on Sydney’s northern beaches and on inquiring discovered it came from Tanna Island in Vanuatu.
“It is fantastic that such a delicious coffee grown in a country that is so important to cruising can now be enjoyed by our guests,” Sture said. “Passengers have an opportunity to buy a Tanna Coffee as another choice at our Deck 12 cafes knowing that the full benefits of their selection will flow directly to the Tanna Island community and the hundreds of smallholder farmers for whom coffee growing has become their livelihood.”
P&O Cruises’ first order of freshly roasted Tanna Coffee made front page news in Vanuatu’s media recently, with the owner and Managing Director Terry Adlington stating: “This represents a milestone for Vanuatu’s coffee industry and is a culmination of the hard work and efforts made over the years by all stakeholders within the agricultural and tourism sectors.”
Terry is an Australian expat who had previously been growing coffee in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. He came to Vanuatu in 1998 to advise on the rehabilitation of Tanna’s then infant coffee growing venture, which at the time was producing only 3.5 tonnes per year. However, by providing expert support and guidance, production increased dramatically to more than 20 tonnes within 18 months.
Terry decided to stay on and is proud that Tanna Coffee produced 85 tonnes of coffee last year and believes the sky is the limit for further production and growth. “The income earned by Tanna’s 500 coffee growers provides direct support to around 5000 people on the island,” Terry said.
“Through Tanna Coffee, we have empowered the farmers to maximise value-added opportunities by providing them with essential equipment, necessary skills and the knowledge to produce a top quality product with a guaranteed market.”
An added bonus for P&O Cruises' passengers visiting Port Vila, is an opportunity to call in at the Tanna Coffee roasting factory and shop, located about 20 minutes’ drive from the port. Up to 200 passengers on each Vila call, now visit the Tanna Coffee headquarters where they can purchase an array of freshly roasted coffee packs and leave with a great understanding of coffee production and a good feeling about supporting a growing local industry.
Giving passengers the choice of Tanna Coffee sits well with P&O Cruises’ commitment to sustainable tourism and enabling the economic benefits of cruising to flow through to island communities who have welcomed cruise visitors for decades.
In other initiatives, P&O Cruises employs ni-Vanuatu crew on its cruise ships and is involved in the P&O Partnership with Save the Children. Under the Partnership, P&O Cruises’ passengers each make a one dollar contribution via their onboard accounts to fund the building of kindergartens and aid posts in the South Pacific, initially in Vanuatu.
Also in line with its commitment to sustainable tourism, Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, has a Memorandum of Understanding with international aid agency AusAID to ensure island economies can share the benefits of cruising in the region.