A prominent tourism owner says tourists entering Luganville in 2019 may decline but the government’s decision to divert more international meetings to Santo is keeping the business community busy.
Reports have surfaced earlier this year accusing the government for a China-funded Wharf that it is struggling to make money with fewer cruise ships destined for Luganville.
But Hotel Santo owner Mary Jane Dinh says no one should blame the cruises given that their schedules were made two years prior before visiting any destination.
She applauded the government’s intention plus aid workers to give a fair chance for Luganville town to host international meetings which she claimed has generate income for hotels, restaurants, transports and mamas at the main market.
Luganville town is the second largest to Port Vila and despite the slow pace in tourism it is highly praised for its sustainable island style and ancient war remains that stand top as one of the best tourists’ attraction in the world.
SANMA Tourism Manager, Ben Kaurua, says the international meetings brought to Luganville has showcased Luganville of its greenness, the culture and environment that it has to offer.
Mr. Kaurua added that the international meetings diverted to Luganville has not only boost tourism but test the level of tourism community of how they can comply with standards to offer and cater for international forums.
“We have an international wharf, airport, standard Pro-medical service and telecommunication.
“But we are moving on our pace”, Mr. Kaurua said.
The newly appointed mayor of Luganville, Peter Patty, has assured the business community and tourism operators that more international meetings are anticipated to take place in Luganville next year.
He said the council he leads is planning a tourism forum that will engage the business community, the tourism office and partner stakeholders to see how they can work together to address tourism issues in the Northern town.
The SANMA tourism office has carry out an inventory mapping to identify tourism businesses around SANMA province and is looking at developing a database to better tourism planning for next year.
Mrs. Dinh is hopeful that 2021 should be brighter for tourism in the Northern Town.