As part of the Vanuatu Tourism Crises Response and Recovery Plan the Department of Tourism (DoT) has completed stakeholder consultation and is now working with key partners within the financial institutions to finalise the details for a Sustainable Tourism Support Program (STSP).
Based on the consultation and the surveys that were conducted, the 5 main categories identified requiring funding assistance to manage risk and increase business resilience were:
• Immediate survival grants for maintenance, security, cleaning, gardening and utility bills;
• Operational needs;
• Legal compliance;
• Sustainable infrastructure improvements;
• and marketing activities
To ensure tourism businesses transition to be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, there will be key criteria that must be met to qualify for the STSP. Entry criteria for the STSP is guided by the Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Strategy (2021-2025) which includes activities that can support the transition of Vanuatu’s tourism industry to better align with the goals and objectives of the Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Policy (2019-2030).
The Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Policy (2019-2030) also supports tourism’s contribution to the Vanuatu National Sustainable Development Plan (2016-2030), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) criteria for Sustainable Tourism Destinations.
The first phase of the STSP will commence in early 2021 and will involve the establishment and piloting of a governance structure with representatives from finance, funding partner organisations and the tourism industry to manage the distribution of funds to tourism businesses based on an application process and criteria. Once the governance of the STSP has been piloted, the program will be rolled out at a national level. More updates will be provided through industry tourism associations throughout all provinces coordinated through the Department of Tourism.