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David Vaeafe named chairman of the South Pacific Cruise Alliance

American Samoa Visitors Bureau executive director David Vaeafe. [file photo]
SPCA will be based out of American Samoa during his chairmanship

American Samoa Visitors Bureau executive director David Vaeafe is the new chairman of the South Pacific Cruise Alliance (SPCA), a regional cruise ship organization, which will now have its Secretariat office based in the territory, during Vaeafe’s tenure.

“This is the first time in a long while that someone from American Samoa has held the chairmanship of a South Pacific regional organization and having a regional organization housed here reaffirms the Territory’s commitment to working with our Pacific neighbors,” Vaeafe said over the weekend in response to Samoa News questions.

Vaeafe explained that the term for chairmanship post is three years, also the same time frame the cruise alliance Secretariat will be based in American Samoa, which joined the regional group in 2010.

Vaeafe replaces outgoing chairman Ollivier Amaru of French Polynesia, who has held the position since the cruise alliance was formed in 2010, according to an SPCA news release late last week.

Vaeafe and the Visitors Bureau have been promoting American Samoa as a stopover with the support of SPCA and there has been an increases — in the past years — in the number of cruise ships calling into the Port of Pago Pago.

“The global cruise market is rapidly growing and SPCA's creation by its member countries is to ensure our South Pacific region and our island nations are included in the sector's expansion,” Vaeafe told Samoa News.

“More and more cruise lines are home basing ships in Australia and New Zealand for the Southern Hemisphere summer and we need to ensure their itineraries include our islands, and working together as a region offering multiple stops makes our part of the world very attractive,” he said.

Amaru is quoted in the SPCA news release as saying that Vaeafe, as the newly elected chairman this month, “will positively enhance” the partnership sealed between SPCA and the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO) at Seatrade Cruise Global in Fort Lauderdale, Florida earlier this year.

Amaru added there’s no doubt that Vaeafe’s “strong involvement” within SPTO as a Board Member as well being on the SPCA Board “will help grow the Alliance for its members.”

“I look forward to taking on the Chairman role and working to grow the organization, partnering with other relevant Associations [such as] the New Zealand Cruise Association as co-members of each other's organizations, and working to grow the cruise market and increase deployment of ships in the South Pacific Region,” said Vaeafe in the SPCA news release.

Vaeafe confirmed to Samoa News that as part of the chairmanship post, “the Secretariat goes with the role and once the paperwork for the transfer is completed it will be moved from the Tahiti Cruise Club [in French Polynesia] to be housed within the ASVB early next year.”

Asked if ASVB will be needing more staff for the SPCA Secretariat, Vaeafe said one of his staff will be assigned to look after the Secretariat’s duties which primarily includes coordinating the organization's participation at the Seatrade Cruise Global Convention each year in Florida in partnership with SPTO, “of which we are also a member of”.

Besides American Samoa and French Polynesian, other SPCA members are Pitcairn Island, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji as well as related businesses and ports from each island nation, according to SPCA, which notes that while Amaru may have stepped down from the helm his passion and commitment to developing the cruise tourism industry in the South Pacific remains and he will provide technical assistance to members.