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Vanuatu continues domestic tourism push

Domestic tourism will continue being a focal point for the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO), with an impending influx of inbound visitors from July 1.

Like other Pacific destinations, the country is re-emerging for global travel after a two-year lockdown and had fallen back on domestic travel activities to help cushion the loss of foreign tourist dollars. In 2019 travel and tourism contributed over 32 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“The domestic tourism program has reaped some great rewards during border closure,” said CEO, Adela Issachar Aru.

“Not just by providing a revenue stream for a large number of operators but also by encouraging Ni-Vanuatu to experience their country in a different way. The campaign has also put forward the suggestion that you can holiday at home.”

Ms Isaachar Aru said the VTO intends to continue the program as part of their recovery marketing activities.

Domestic tourism will continue being a focal point for the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO), with an impending influx of inbound visitors from July 1. Picture: Shutterstock

“Vanuatu has importantly kept up a marketing presence during the pandemic and communicated with those that were planning to travel in 2020. Through this we have found that we are seeing strong initial demand.”

Vanuatu is one of several Pacific countries with a large contingent of seasonal workers in Australia and New Zealand, and to counter any shortage in tourism workers at home, authorities have initiated a Tourism Ready campaign.

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According to the Vanuatu Department of Tourism, the country’s diverse industry comprised about 11,500 tourism workers prior to Covid.

Domestic tourism will continue being a focal point for the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO), with an impending influx of inbound visitors from July 1. Picture: Shutterstock

An estimated 20,000 Ni-Vanuatu have participated in seasonal work programs in Australia and New Zealand since 2007, with most of them recruited from the tourism hubs of Efate, Port Vila and Santo.

“Finding workers has been an issue across the world and it is no different in Vanuatu. Many employers have kept with their teams and these challenges are being worked through by individual businesses,” Ms Isaachar Aru said.

This has seen the Vanuatu Department of Tourism and Vanuatu Tourism Office establish a Tourism Labour Desk with the Vanuatu Department of Labour. They are also running a campaign to encourage Ni-Vanuatu to consider tourism and hospitality as a career.

Domestic tourism will continue being a focal point for the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO), with an impending influx of inbound visitors from July 1. Picture: Vanuatu Tourism

“This campaign is focused on instilling pride to rebuilding the many talents and excellence of service provided by our workers to our guests when visiting Vanuatu. We are hopeful also that many Ni-Vanuatu will choose to return home once borders are open and opportunity becomes more accessible.”

Other re-emerging Pacific holiday destinations include the Solomon Islands, which also reopens from July 1 and Samoa, from August 1.

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