The SANMA Tourism Call Centre has reopened its doors to provide and improve domestic tourism, amidst the global pandemic that has crippled the country’s tourism industry.

In her official remarks, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO), Adela Aru stressed the importance of recognising the need to take this route as a way forward.

“While it is not an easy time, we thank the chairman of the tourism association, the chairman of tourism council and all tourism members who are operating in this challenging time,’ said CEO Aru.

“With the support that the government has given, you continue to operate and this Center is now reopened. It will provide support to you all so you can survive this crisis until such time the borders open.”

The reopened centre in the Northern Town will act as the main tourism centre at this time as it encourages domestic travel for locals to make use of the available tourism packages in SANMA province.

Luganville Mayor, Peter Patty, has thanked the VTO for allowing this initiative to advance. He thanked the government for the stimulus package which assisted tourism operators, enabling some workers to retain their jobs.

“The re-opening of this call centre is a sign that despite the crises, the tourism office is moving forward and we should be grateful,” said the Luganville Mayor.

Mr Thomson Pakoa, First Political Advisor to the Minister of Tourism, Trade and Commerce who represented the Minister on this important occasion, confirmed that 93 % of tourism businesses in Vanuatu are owned by local businessman and stressed it is important to support these businesses.

“Vanuatu tourism is down but not out, despite COVID-19 and still recovering from the devastating impacts of cyclones, the tourism industry will always strive to move on with a new vision,” he said.

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