The Department of Tourism

The Department of Tourism is a government agency established under the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Industry and Ni-Vanuatu Business. It was established in 1998 under the name of National Tourism Development Office (NTDO). Prior to that there was the National Tourism Office (NTO) established as a statutory body to promote and facilitate tourism development in Vanuatu. The establishment of the NTDO was instigated by the lack of development efforts in the islands to promote and facilitate ni-Vanuatu participation in tourism development. The establishment of the NTDO then separated the functions that were previously performed by the NTO into destination marketing which now come under the responsibility of the Vanuatu Tourism Office. The NTDO was given the mandate for policy, destination management, product development, cruise tourism and tourism standards.

The vision for the tourism industry that was approved by the 2008 National Tourism Summit is…

“Tourism celebrates Vanuatu’s culture and environment, empowers its people and captivates its visitors throughout the islands”

The mission for the Department is:

To be the destination management arm of the Government for the tourism sector in Vanuatu by improving the competitiveness of Vanuatu as a tourist destination with a special focus on increasing the participation and ownership of ni-Vanuatu of tourism businesses in partnership with the private sector and promote development initiatives that will contribute to spreading development benefits and access to services equitably and sustainably throughout the islands through:

  1. Innovative product development and marketing

  2. Improved infrastructure to improve access to all islands throughout the country;

  3. Promoting increased investment in tourism by local and foreign investors equitably and sustainably throughout the islands through an improved enabling business environment;

  4. Promoting and facilitating initiatives that adopts a long-term outlook to development through the integration of environment and cultural objectives and concerns

  5. Promoting and facilitating the establishment and maintenance of quality standards through the establishment of an accreditation and classification system for tourism businesses

  6. Improved human resource development and training to enhance the standards of services provided by the industry;

  7. The establishment of an improved legal, policy and organisational framework that will enhance the contribution and participation of all sectors of the Vanuatu community in tourism development;

  8. Developing a partnership between government, private sector and the civil society to enhance tourism development and growth.

The objectives of the Department are:

  1. Equitable distribution of tourists and tourism businesses throughout the islands

  2. The existence of a robust legal, policy, planning and organisational framework to coordinate and facilitate tourism development and growth in partnership with the private sector

  3. The existence of a vibrant tourism sector with active participation of local and foreign investors

  4. A competent Department of Tourism as the Government arm providing quality tourism development services for the development and management of the destination

  5. Vanuatu as the most competitive destination for tourists and investors in the South Pacific

  6. All tourism businesses operating according to approved quality management standards

  7. An environmentally and culturally sustainable tourism that is based on sound principles and practices

The Department’s primary investors are the people of this country through their parliamentary representatives and the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu.

The partner agencies of the Department in the provision of tourism related development services are the following agencies. Partner agencies are those government, NGO and private sector organisations that implement programmes, provide business related services or facilities, or have access to resources that could be mobilised to support the increase in investment in tourism in Vanuatu. The Department will identify and develop, in collaboration with partner agencies a package of support services that should be provided to ni-Vanuatu businesses.

The following agencies have been identified as the primary partners of the Department in the provision of services to support tourism operators throughout the islands:

  1. Vanuatu Tourism Office

  2. Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Training Centre (HTLTC)

  3. Department of Agriculture

  4. Department of Fisheries

  5. Department of Livestock

  6. Department of Forestry

  7. Provincial Government Councils

  8. Municipal Councils

  9. Tourism Industry Associations

  10. Department of Environment

  11. Department of Lands

  12. Department of Cooperatives

  13. Department of Public Health

  14. Vanuatu Cultural Centre

  15. National Statistics Office

  16. Department of Customs and Inland Revenue

  17. Department of Rural Water Supplies

  18. Department of Ports & Harbour

  19. Vanuatu Broadcasting Television Corporation

  20. Department of Police

  21. South Seas Shipping Company

  22. Department of Public Works

  23. Department of Industry

  24. Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA)

  25. Vanuatu Intellectual Property Office

  26. Donor partners

The Department’s main beneficiaries are ni-Vanuatu families and individuals in both the rural and urban sectors and foreign investors that own existing businesses or are interested in or want to establish a tourism business. In particular are those disadvantage families and individuals that are not able to access services and information that are available from Government that can assist them to establish small tourism businesses.

Recognising the nature of the challenge and the expectations of the stakeholders, the vision for the Department is to be recognised throughout the country as an organisation that:

  1. Contributes to improvements in the lives of ni-Vanuatu families in both the rural and urban sectors

  2. Maintains excellence in the provision of tourism development services

  3. Is a valued partner in facilitating collaboration in the establishment of tourism businesses by ni-Vanuatu families, individuals, groups,communities and foreign investors

The Department will:

  1. Value success

  2. Promote the principle that development partners are a valuable form of development assistance and asset in the provision of tourism business development services

  3. Be innovative, flexible and lean towards a mode of operation that sets the standard for delivering real benefits through development cooperation to ni-Vanuatu families and wider community.

  4. Have a strong focus on the stakeholders

  5. Respect individual contribution, value teamwork, and promote staff excellence and integrity through selection and development practices that adhere to the principles of equal employment opportunity

The Department must be able to manage other critical issues in the operational environment:

  1. The need for the services that are provided by the Department to reflect the needs and priorities of business clients and stakeholders

  2. The need for services to compliment rather than compete or duplicate the activities of partner agencies

  3. Disparate income growth in the urban and rural areas, creating distinct and contrasting needs, potential and priorities

  4. The need to focus on delivery of solutions to business development problems

  5. The need to ensure implementation of technology arising from the development experiences in delivering tourism business development services and training in the islands

  6. Access to quality expertise and experiences in business development services

  7. The need to focus both on technological outcomes and building capability for the provision of business development services, training and facilities

  8. The importance of private sector and NGO involvement and interest in the delivery of business development services

  9. How to maximise the use of current levels of recurrent budgetary resources to deliver effective tourism development services in the islands

  10. The need to take a tourist centric approach to the development of tourism

In order that the Department is able to deliver effective programmes, it is recognised that the Department must:

  1. Have objective, efficient and accountable processes that are both transparent and defensible

  2. Diversify and expand the collaborative base, build further linkages between private sector and NGOs and cooperate effectively with other government agencies

  3. Target the resources of the Department carefully, examine opportunities for cooperation in the provision of services with other agencies and ensure complimentarity of effort

The following organisation structure was approved by the Public Service Commission in 2010. This organisation structure establishes four main programmes for the department:

  1. Product Development – the main focus of this programme is to promote and facilitate the development of innovative products in the outer islands

  2. Outer Island Tourism Development – the main focus of this programme is to facilitate the implementation of Provincial tourism plans and the re-distribution of investment throughout the islands away from the current concentration in Vila and Luganville as well as supervise the operation of industry associations and Provincial Tourism Councils

  3. Investment Promotion and Facilitation – the main focus of this programme is to facilitate establishment of FDIs and promote and facilitate joint venture partnerships between foreign investors and custom owners and an increase in the participation of Ni-Vanuatu in tourism

  4. Tourism Standards – the establishment and management of quality management standards for the development of products and provision of services in the tourism industry.

The Provincial staffing structure is as follows: