‘We’ve changed as a destination and our market has changed,’ says Vanuatu Tourism Office CEO, Adela Issacha Aru. ‘We are looking at our market positioning as the destination, and the quality of product, grows.’ In Port Vila, the new 1.2km seafront walkway has become a place for locals and for visitors to enjoy. ‘Visitors can easily connect with our culture,’ says Issacha Aru. ‘The market vendors have been reorganised into the new Seafront Handicraft Haus where only locally made handicrafts are sold.’
The quality of product in Efate and other islands has improved, she says. ‘The Vanuatu Tourism Awards, now in their third year, are helping to the lift the standard of product along with the Skills Partnership Program that is training local operators in e-marketing, finance, and service.’ Kiwi buyers agreed Tok Tok was more collaborative than previous years in terms of VTO, the airport, and Air Vanuatu working together.
‘It’s good to see the improvements being made to infrastructure and products in Vanuatu and there is a long term goal in place,’ says Sibyl Hauraki, land contracting manager - South Pacific at helloworld. ‘This will ensure the country is offering products which are competitive with other south sea destinations. ‘I enjoyed seeing the operators face to face, visiting the properties, refreshing my knowledge and changes made.’ Sharma Smith from House of Travel Product felt Tok Tok was successful this year. ‘The destination is growing, the industry is positive and it’s moving in the right direction,’ she says.