“Tourism comprises 40 per cent of Vanuatu’s GDP”


Murielle Kalsakau, who finishes her six-week internship at PT&amp;I’s Auckland offices this week, interviewed Linda Kalpoi, Chief Executive of the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) based in Port Vila, Vanuatu for Pacific Periscope as part of her internship assignment. <!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_4310" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Linda Kalpoi, Head of the Vanuatu Tourism Office. Photo: Dev Nadkarni"]<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Linda_Kalpoi-s1.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-4310" title="Linda_Kalpoi-s1" src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Linda_Kalpoi-s1.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="300" /></a>[/caption]
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Here are excerpts from the interview.

Tourism plays a major role in the economy of the country – what needs to be done to boost numbers of tourists?

Tourism is the Government’s priority sector along with agriculture. Government needs to increase funding of the Department of Tourism and the VTO for marketing the destination in our key traditional markets, such as Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. That would help increase visitor arrivals, increase number of rooms and increase visitors to the outer islands.

How much of the GDP comes from tourism?

Forty per cent – both direct and indirect.

What is the economic, social, financial and environmental impact of tourism on Vanuatu?

It generates employment (6000), business opportunities, provides a platform for development in the outer islands such as infrastructure and provides foreign investment.

What are the main attractions that set Vanuatu apart from other island destinations?

Nature – Yasur volcano, the world’s most accessible and active volcano, Pentecost land dive, President Coolidge wreck dive in Santo, genuinely friendly people, intact and diverse culture and tradition.

Is the infrastructure sufficient?

It needs to be improved in Port Vila, Luganville towns, we need to establish roads and airports and wharf/jetties in the outer islands.

What are the main problems that the tourism sector is facing?

Frequency of international flights and high cost of outer island travel, the high cost of utilities, insufficient funding for the tourism offices, compliance and enforcement of laws, human resources are all areas that need addressing.

How has Air Vanuatu’s code share with Air New Zealand helped?

It certainly provides increased number of seats and frequency allowing better travel dates for travel and increased effort in marketing the destination in New Zealand.

What can be done to encourage more time to be spent on shore for cruise ship visitors?

Provide better awareness of tours available on shore to passengers well before travel dates, high quality of excursion tours, and improve product experiences.

How to encourage more spending from cruise visitors so they spend more time and money on shore?

Increase awareness of products on offer on land and provide easy access to information and direction.