Mr. George was appointed by the new Government and succeeds Merian Numake.
Mr. George says as Board Chairman, he wishes to “encourage all tourism operators to continue operations targeting the domestic market”, and promises that under his Chairmanship, VTO “will continue to support tourism in this time of crisis”.
CEO of the Vanuatu Tourism Office, Adela Issachar Aru congratulated the new Chairman on his appointment, and said that the staff and Board members look forward to working with Mr George as VTO assists Vanuatu’s tourism industry recovery plans from the twin shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and Cyclone Harold.
“As VTO works on preparing for the eventual return of tourists to Vanuatu when it is safe to do so, in the immediate future, we must look to assisting our operators with marketing aimed towards domestic tourists, and many will have already seen the social media and newspaper advertising that VTO is providing to help our tourism businesses tap into our domestic tourism market,” said Ms Aru.
“However, we must also increase the marketing of Vanuatu as a tourism destination in our nearby international markets Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand, because when these markets are finally COVID-free and visitors from these markets are allowed to travel here again, Vanuatu must be front-and-centre in travel consumers’ minds
The post-COVID-19 tourism and travel market will be the most competitive business environment we have ever had to operate in. Our regional competitors like the Cook Islands and Fiji have already made massive investments in their own tourism marketing campaigns directed at enticing outbound tourists from Australia and New Zealand to visit their countries. On top of that, every sub-regional destination in Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia is also spending large sums of money to persuade domestic tourists to travel within their countries as well.
“On behalf of VTO, I warmly welcome Mr Jacob George’s appointment at this critical time in the history of Vanuatu’s tourism industry as we seek to rebuild and renew this important sector that plays such a key role in Vanuatu’s economy—tourism contributes as much as 30% of GDP, and three quarters of Vanuatu’s foreign currency earnings in any given year.
“But more importantly, the tourism sector is also a major source of livelihoods for tens of thousands of Vanuatu’s people, both directly and indirectly. I am glad that our new Chairman brings a wealth of experience and understanding of the importance of sustainable livelihoods for our people and for our economy.”
Photo supplied Caption: Outgoing Chairlady Meriam Numake with new Chairman Jacob George