In an interview at Chantilly’s on the Bay, NZ High Commissioner Georgina Roberts and the Vanuatu Tourism Office general manager Adela Issachar Aru emphasised that the benefits of cruises and other arrivals were community wide. ‘Tourism is everybody’s business, everyone has a part to play,’ Roberts says. Being one of the largest projects NZ Aid has funded, the work took two and a half years to complete. It includes a new stage, market house and 1.2km of walkways with upgraded parkland and gardens from Chantillys on the Bay to the Port Vila Central Market House. The local design of the path, which resembles an unfurled mat, is a symbol for a solid foundation for tourism ‘the key aspect of the mat is to drive tourism in to town,’ says Aru. ‘Cruise ships arrive in Port Vila and ‘the mat’ will drive tourists in to town. There they can chat with locals in a welcoming environment, shop for quality, local made products and be given info of the products they can take home.’
Vanuatu is also launching a tourism ambassador programme which will include having local guides around the city and airport, sharing information to tourists about what to do, where and how in Efate.
- Patrea Robson