The Vanuatu Tourism Permit and Accreditation Program (VTPAP) – Operational Plan has been officially launched on Thursday March 16.

The pilot program is delivered by Department of Tourism (DoT) in partnership with the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue (DCIR), the Department of Co-operatives (DoCoops), Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO), Vanuatu Scuba Operator Association (VSOA), Tafea Provincial Tourism Association (TPTA) and Sanma Local Government Tourism Council (SLGTC).

The pilot program brings together key stakeholders who are committed to its success. Vanuatu is the only country in the Pacific operating an industry sector wide minimum standards program.

With the positive growth in tourism arrivals (9% growth in 2016) it is imperative that tourism in Vanuatu exceeds the expectations of guests by providing high quality, safe and memorable experiences which encourage high satisfaction and repeated visitation.

During the session, industry representatives highlighted the urgent need for the runway to be fixed to compliment the effort in addressing standards within the sector.

The Program was originally launched in 2015 by the Vanuatu Department of Tourism (DoT) to ensure tourism operators are operating at or above minimum standards throughout Vanuatu’s tourism sector.

“A focus of the program is that Vanuatu will be perceived by visitors as a safe and reliable destination that showcases Ni-Vanuatu culture and identity as well as the country’s natural assets as tourism attractions,” said Principle Accreditation Officer, Jerry Spooner.

Ecotourism Australia Program Manager, Leonie Bowles, congratulated Vanuatu on its leadership and highlighted the program’s benefits for industry and visitors alike.

The pilot program will make Vanuatu become a more competitive destination, operators will be able to take part in tourism trade events with wholesalers, industry standards will underpin risk mitigation, enable Improvements in customer service and communications and the assistance to implement measures that enhance the total visitor experience and ultimately consumer satisfaction.

The pilot program will also see benefits from association with national and international promotion of the accreditation logo as a symbol of quality within the tourism industry

VTPAP enables a tourism business to become accredited and gain a tourism permit indicating that they have met the nationally endorsed Vanuatu Tourism Operators Minimum Standards (VTOMS). Once a Tourism Permit is received the individual or business can purchase the appropriate Business License.

All Tourism businesses in Vanuatu require a tourism permit and a business license to legally operate their business.

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