Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini, New Zealand High Commissioner Bill Dobie and Minister for Internal Affairs George Wells yesterday put pen to paper to sign a one-year Partnership Arrangement for Vanuatu’s Tourism Infrastructure Project (VTIP).
“We need to put more work in promoting Vanuatu as a tourist destination,” said DPM Lini and same time minister responsible for Tourism when conveying Vanuatu’s appreciation on New Zealand’s assistance.
“This includes beautification on the seafront and also the Port Vila main wharf so that when tourist ships berth in the tourists can see the alluring attraction Vanuatu has as we welcome them to our shores.
“If we look back now there are many things we still have to do because we are encouraging tourism but are not really committed to taking action on these improvements. Thank you for your response, I believe with your assistance we will actually change the face of Port Vila.”
The Internal Affairs minister echoed the DPM’s words and New Zealand High Commissioner Dobie said NZ is delighted to be able to assist Vanuatu on improving these two important areas, that is the Seafront Park and the area near the Port Vila main wharf.
“We want to improve these areas to ensure that Port Vila continues as one of the leading tourist destinations in the Pacific. The New Zealand government realises the vital role that tourism plays in this economy and to the people and we are glad to help.”
Effective from February 3, 2012 to February 3, 2013 the Partnership commits the Vanuatu through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Department of Local Authorities (DLA), the Ministry of Industries, Trade and Commerce, Department of Tourism (DOT) and the New Zealand Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT-as partners) and sets out the mutual responsibilities and contributions of the government and MFAT to ensure the successful achievement of the VTIP.
The VTIP goal is “improved infrastructure including management services in Port Vila city to enhance tourism development”.
Four months ago Vanuatu and New Zealand signed a Joint Commitment for Development (JCfD) recognising private sector development, targeting the tourism sector as a priority for New Zealand’s development cooperation program and the DOT, DLA, Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the Port Vila Municipal Council jointly identified issues at the market area alongside the Port Vila cruise ship wharf and the seafront that are having a negative impact on visitor numbers, tourist experiences and Vanuatu’s reputation.
The identified issues range from (proper) waste management systems, drainage and sanitation, vehicle and pedestrian traffic safety, information on tourism products, services and rates, access to market facilities, cafes and shops to erosion on the waterfront and the cliff beside the wharf.