The Department of Tourism organised a stakeholder’s forum to discuss the recently developed Vanuatu Sustainable Cruise Tourism Strategy, at the Ramada Resort, Port Vila, on Wednesday 6th November 2019.
Around 40 attendees included a variety of representatives from both the public and private sectors, including representatives from Luganville and Mystery Island, together with a representative of Carnival Cruises, Sydney.
The Minister for Youth, Sport and Recreation the Hon. Francois Chani and the Chairman of the VTO, Mr. Ben Leeshi, were also in attendance.
The official opening address was delivered by the Acting Deputy Prime Minister, Matai Seremiah, who said, “I note that from the past until recently, Government lacks direct open dialogue with cruise companies and with this, I would like to see more commitment and communication through more open dialogue between the Vanuatu Government through the National Cruise Tourism Management Committee (NCTMC), the cruise companies and all other key stakeholders.’’
He advised that, “The National Cruise Tourism Strategy must be a living document whereby it should guide how Vanuatu as a destination will manage the development within the cruise sector. The Strategy must be supported by the National Government in order for them to function properly.’’
The objective of the workshop was to discuss the key findings of the Strategy, which was developed and presented by the consultants (Sustainable Tourism International Ltd. and Trek Vanuatu) on behalf of the Department of Tourism. The development of the Strategy was partly supported by the New Zealand Government.
The consultation was undertaken with numerous key stakeholders in all six Provinces of Vanuatu. The Strategy highlighted the three segments of cruise tourism being mega cruise ships, expedition ships and yachting.
The Director of Tourism, Mr. Jerry Spooner, summed up the discussions by outlining the outcomes of the meeting. These included:
• The NCTMC will be comprised of key Government representatives only, who will manage and co-ordinate all policy and planning matters.
• Private sector representatives can sit on the Port of Call sub-committees and be called upon for advice as required.
• The NCTMC will discuss all matters raised including the further review of the Vanuatu Sustainable Cruise Tourism Strategy before implementing.
• More open communications between the NCTMC and the cruise companies through quarterly meetings.
He concluded by saying that “it is important for the development and growth of our cruise tourism sector to be guided by the Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Policy guidelines”.