Cruise Ship Tour Package Pilot a Success in Santo

The Santo Travel Centre (STC), in close partnership with the Department of Tourism and local industry, commenced the sale of their new cruise day tour packages in Luganville, Espiritu Santo on Friday, 1st of June.

These packages, designed through a collaboration by both offices, offer cruise passengers a choice of 10 locally owned tours and activity ‘experiences’.

This included the major attractions in Espiritu Santo such as the popular Champagne Beach, Nanda Blue Hole, and Million Dollar Point as well as tours to Leweton Cultural Experience, sightseeing around Luganville town and a World War II package.

This successful first trial included the sale of 45 packages contributing to over Vt600,000 direct income for the local tourism industry.

Local transport operators were happy with the day’s results. One bus driver, Jeremy Kenneth, stated: “I really think the sale of the packages was helpful to all the transport operators in Santo.

This is because a lot of us struggle with our marketing skills and understanding of how to sell our tours to tourists. The Santo Travel team were able to do the marketing for us which made it a lot easier for us”.

This was a great example of how local tourism operators can be promoted through the Provincial Travel Centre Network while strengthening the wider destination.

CEO of the Vanuatu Tourism Office, Adela Issachar Aru stated: “We are very excited about the results of this pilot exercise. It highlights the benefits of Santo Travel Centre, and the wider Provincial Travel Centre Network in supporting market access for smaller tourism operators in addition to providing overall destination promotion and travel information services. We can’t wait to see the results of the next cruise ship day in Santo.”

The Acting Director of Tourism, Donald Pelam, stated that this recent success in Santo is evidence of the strong partnership between local industry, partner organizations and the Vanuatu Government. He stated: “Following the recent infrastructure developments in Luganville it is good to see that our local operators, in collaboration with the Santo Travel Centre, Department of Tourism and partners, are taking every opportunity to enhance the visitor experience in Santo on cruise ship days to promote increased employment opportunities and sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”

Cruise tour itineraries and packages were developed with support from the Australian Government funded Australian Volunteer Program and the Vanuatu Skills Partnership through the Sanma Skills Centre.

STC will provide similar marketing and sales services during upcoming cruise ship days to further promote sustainable tourism in Espiritu Santo and the northern islands of Vanuatu. For more information please visit www.santo.travel

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