International visitor arrivals in Vanuatu by air totaled 10,877 in September 2017, or 39% of all international arrivals to Vanuatu.
This is an increase of 12% over the corresponding month in 2016 and 31% over the previous month. The increase was reflected in the number of visitors who arrived for holiday.
Cruise ship or day visitors stood at 16,829 or 61% of all international arrivals to Vanuatu. This is an increase of 6% over the corresponding month in 2016 with 9 cruise ships in total. Day visitors declined by 5% over the previous month.
Australian visitors accounted for the highest number of visitors by air at 61%; followed by New Caledonia and New Zealand visitors at 11% each; European visitors at 5%; Other pacific countries at 4%; North America at 3%; China and visitors from other countries at 2% each and Japanese visitors at 1%.
International visitors by air spent an average of 10 days. This is an increase of 1 day over September 2016 and also over the previous month. Tanna Island continues to receive the highest number of visitors at 38%; followed by visitors to Santo Island at 31%.
2018 Tourism Plans
The Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) has a ‘good’ plan all set out for 2018.
A dynamic team comprising of the VTO General Manager, Mrs Adela Aru, Marketing Manager, Allan Kalfabun, Information and Data Research Manager, Sebastien Bador with support technical advisor and staff are showing very good signs that 2018 will have big impact on Vanuatu’s tourism industry.
Mrs Aru revealed that the team and VTO’s staff have very good working relationship with stakeholders and have teamed up with development partners to carry out activities this year to bring in more tourists into the country.
“We are excited to announce that we will be launching a major campaign this week in partnership with Air Vanuatu in Sydney and Brisbane, Australia for six weeks and it is made successful by the Vanuatu Government, New Zealand Government and the Government of Australia,” she said.
“Air Vanuatu is working together with VTO and have come up with very competitive airfares into both Australia and New Zealand which makes Vanuatu more stronger to be a destination of choice for our international visitors as we are working tirelessly with our Marketing Manager, Allan, to promote Vanuatu in regional and international markets such as Asia and Europe.
“The major campaign in the first quarter of this year will help prepare market and we will work with the industry with support from the private sector- the campaign costs AUS$650,000 in Australia and for New Zealand campaign costs NZ$200,000 for the first quarter.”
Mr Kalfabun reiterated that it was important to target markets out in the region to boost the number of bookings in Vanuatu that has seen a positive start to the year for a number of tour operators and resorts in Vanuatu.
“This is all about keeping the consistency and so we have had very good feed backs- thus we have established call centres in the provinces that will provide up to date data and share with our network about events that will be taking place throughout the country so we will have an ‘Events Calendar’ and we are excited that these will attract more tourists to choose Vanuatu as destination and to want to come back during their holidays,” he said.
“We are not only competing domestically but we also have other island countries such as Fiji and we as a holiday destination we need that space to campaign as children have gone back to school and parents will need to make plans for their holidays so this is why we need to make this campaign about what Vanuatu has to offer.
“One of VTO’s priority is to strengthen our call centres to enable remote areas to be more accessible to provide diverse experience that visitors can choose to visit and not only that, they will also provide data on experiences and products that will be used to target not only expats but local tourists such as family packages that are available in outer islands as far as the Banks Islands.”
A call centre workshop is currently underway on Santo facilitated by VTO to train officers manning call centres to be more effective and produce data for tourism activities in the country.
There are more activities in place that VTO will be carrying out this year and VTO is excited and optimistic that 2018 will be a successful one for the tourism industry.
“We would like to acknowledge the private sector, specifically in the tourism industry, development partners and organisations in partnership with VTO for their support in the tourism industry whether in cash or in kind as we work together to develop and market Vanuatu to the world,” Mrs Aru concluded.