The Vanuatu Tourism Crisis Response and Recovery Plan and Budget was put together following exhaustive discussions between tourism partners and the Government.
Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni Vanuatu Business (MTTCNVB), Roy Mickey Joy has confirmed that the Director of Tourism, Jerry Spooner has presented the Vanuatu Tourism Crisis Response and Recovery Plan and Budget to Minister for Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni Vanuatu Business (MTTCNVB) James Bule.
He said they both are happy with the approach taken in putting the Plan together.
Phase 1 of the Recovery Plan includes the immediate safety, response and economic efforts through access and tourism from now up to December 2020.
These activities have been agreed after extensive consultation between the Government and private sector, through the work of the Vanuatu Tourism Crises Response and Recovery Plan (VTCRRP) advisory committee that have been working with and providing advice to the Director of Tourism.
The Plan identifies five pillars and outcomes that need to be achieved to attain our goal of protecting safety and livelihoods and facilitating economic recovery through the restoration of international access and the restart of tourism.
The first is the safeguarding of the health of Vanuatu citizens and visitors.
This is to enable Vanuatu to safely accept movement of people from countries that have zero or minimal cases of COVID-19, and to have confidence in our domestic public health systems and facilities.
The second is access, which includes the international movement of people and ensuring an appropriate and effective transport sector, which includes plans for aviation and cruise.
The third outcome is to ensure that tourism businesses are ready and are financially viable, appropriately supported, and ready to launch their product in a safe way post COVID-19 and TC Harold environment.
The fourth outcome that needs to be achieved is the international demand for Vanuatu tourism.
We need to deliver messages that result in a strong demand for tourism to Vanuatu and the desire to be in the New Zealand and Australia Pacific tourism bubble on a measured approach.
The last outcome is community communications to develop and launch an appropriate communication strategy across Vanuatu to provide guidance and information about the changes taking place and ensure engagement at a community level.
“To achieve these outcomes, a range of actions have been identified, as well as a set of Key Performance Indicators to measure if we have achieved our outcomes,” said Mr Spooner.
Implementation of the Plan will require effective coordination between all stakeholders under the Ministry’s leadership by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
DG Joy said, “it’s a good Plan. The industry is important to Vanuatu’s economy and so is the public-private partnership.
“I want to assure all tourism operators and the whole industry that tourism will get the support it needs.”
“I would like to confirm also that both our Hon Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Tourism have met with our Australian and New Zealand High Commissioners to state our desire to be part of the Pacific Travel Bubble and that our plan to prepare us as a Destination to give them the confidence they would need is clearly reflected in the Tourism Response and Recovery Plan.”
Next week, the Plan will be presented to the Development Committee Officials (DCO) before it goes to the Council of Ministers (COM) for their endorsement.
Once endorsed, it will allow the Government and development partners to support Vanuatu’s tourism sector in the implementation of the plan.
DG Joy emphasized that the tourism sector provides employment and generates significant economic benefits to the country and as such is key to the recovery and safeguarding of livelihoods of our people.
This will be achieved by providing a balance of both economic viability and appropriate health measures that sustain the safety and livelihoods of our people.
Vanuatu’s tourism industry suffered a double blow with the global coronavirus pandemic and devastation caused by TC Harold in April.
According to a report by the Vanuatu Tourism Office, a staggering 70% of tourism jobs were lost between April and May.
Tourism is the backbone of the country’s economy and it has traditionally provided approximately 40% of national GDP.
Vanuatu closed its borders due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and it has no international tourists and severely reduced revenue from the industry.
Photo supplied Caption: DG Roy Mickey Joy with the Tourism Response and Recovery Plan.