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Adela Issachar

Adela Issachar Aru, CEO of VTO:

The Vanuatu Tourism Office is excited to release our Domestic Tourism Marketing Strategy 2021-2023.

This new strategy is just another way that VTO is Answering the Call of Vanuatu.

One of the few positives to emerge from the global Covid-19 pandemic is the opportunity that it has given us to trial our domestic tourism marketing campaign, Sapotem Lokol Turisim.

We have been trialing this campaign to encourage more Ni-Vanuatu and expatriate residents to experience more of what Vanuatu has to offer. We live in one of the most stunningly beautiful countries on Earth, but sometimes, we take this fact for granted, and forget to take the time to go and 'go spel' in our own country.

Tourism is for everyone to enjoy. Indeed, everyone of us in Vanuatu are potential tourists: every time we go and visit friends and family in other places, whether on the same island or on other islands; that’s tourism. Whenever we travel to other islands for work, for church, or for sports; that’s tourism. When we stay the night at an island bungalow, or celebrate a special occasion at one of our hotels or resorts or restaurants; that’s tourism.

With our trial Sapotem Lokol Turisim campaign, many more people are realising this. The campaign has built on the strong consumer sentiment that exists in the community for supporting local business through this difficult time. It links to the wellbeing theme of high-value low-impact tourism, implementing activity 1.1.5 of the Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Strategy as the policy priority facilitated by the Department of Tourism (DOT), providing these strong results:

The Vanuatu community has shown overwhelming support for local tourism businesses;

Tourism businesses have received revenue;

Tourism businesses have been able to provide ongoing work for staff;

Tourism businesses have been able to keep their staff’s hospitality skills up-to-date;

Consumers previously reluctant to think of themselves as domestic tourists have gained the confidence to seek their own tourist experiences at tourism businesses and attractions;

VTO has discovered a host of new products, helped develop them, and promoted them to domestic tourism consumers.

Many local tourism consumers have created special memories of places and experiences.

Ultimately, the main success of this campaign is how it has led domestic tourism consumers to realise just how many incredible tourism attractions, locations and experiences are available in our country.

But that’s not all the Vanuatu Tourism Office team has been up to since the global Covid-19 pandemic closed our borders. In addition to working hard to support Vanuatu’s tourism businesses by creating and stimulating demand for domestic tourism through the Sapotem Lokol Turisim campaign, we’ve undertaken a number of other activities, including our Free Fun Bus services in Espiritu Santo and Efate, and the Turisim Marketing Storians we have conducted on almost every island in the archipelago, from the Torres all the way down to Aneityum.

At these workshops, we’ve explained Vanuatu’s destination brand to tourism businesses, provided them with new online marketing tools, and helped them to package up their offers so we can promote them to domestic tourism consumers. We’ve also run a number of consumer events, including this week’s Mi Tumoro Vanuatu Travel Expo.

VTO’s new Domestic Tourism Marketing Strategy builds on the lessons learned by the trial phase of our Sapotem Lokol Turisim campaign, and creates for the first time a strategic direction for VTO’s marketing activities in support of domestic tourism.

The Domestic Tourism Marketing Strategy also complements the 2030 Vanuatu Tourism Market Development Plan, which provides the strategic direction for VTO’s international marketing activities, and links to the high-value low-impact approach of the Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Strategy for the development of a domestic plan to support our tourism industry.

I’d like to thank all the tourism operators who have participated and supported our efforts to develop our domestic market. In particular, we thank our national airline Air Vanuatu as well as other aviation partners who have supported domestic tourism with affordable airfares for domestic tourists.

I urge everyone to help VTO grow domestic tourism in Vanuatu. There’s never been a better time to get out and enjoy what our country has to offer. On behalf of VTO, I’d also like to encourage everyone to get out and Sapotem Lokol Turisim — and don’t forget to post your domestic tourism experiences on social media using the hashtag #SapotemLokolTurisim