Vanuatu Ecotours Growing Outer Island Tourism

Vanuatu Ecotours Tour Guiding School Trainees at Rentapao River.

Photo credit: Lisa Macalister

The first Vanuatu Ecotours Tour Guiding School was recently held at Rentapao and Eratap, and was hailed as a great success by participants.

“Vanuatu Ecotours is committed to developing tourism in Vanuatu’s outer islands, and we do that by finding reliable local partners to work with,” said Managing Director, Rob Macalister.

Mr Macalister says it was great to have participants from as far away as the Maskelynes in south Malekula attend this Tour Guiding School, as well as three guides from our partner communities on Nguna Island and two guides from Mele.

The training focused on building core competencies among Vanuatu Ecotours guides and outer island tour partners. Topics included the Basic Rule of Tour Guiding, public speaking, safety planning and leadership. Practical drills on emergency response and interpretation were also part of the training.

Mr Macalister also says it is their plan to hold a Tour Guiding School every year to keep upskilling their guides and to build a professional network between Vanuatu Ecotours guides and their outer island partners.

He believes that tourism in Vanuatu’s outer islands has languished for too long. Growth of outer island tourism is most likely to succeed where an established and successful private sector partner, such as Vanuatu Ecotours, establishes partnerships to build quality in outer island tourism products and to take those products to a global market.

Vanuatu Ecotours operates a range of off-the-beaten track half and full-day adventures on Efate and Nguna, and outer island ‘Trek Tanna’ adventures. They will soon be launching tour packages to south Malekula and Ambrym to supplement their existing outer island tour packages.

Mr Macalister says the private sector has an important responsibility to train and develop its staff and this is something that Vanuatu Ecotours takes very seriously. 

“We believe in supporting the attendance of our outer island partners to attend our Tour Guiding Schools. An investment in training is a good business investment,” he says. 

Vanuatu Ecotours would like to thank the host communities at Rentapao and Eratap where the training took place. They will soon be recruiting a Senior Guide on Efate to meet growing demand for their half day and full day tours, and for escorts for outer island charters.

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