Vanuatu Happiness Index Survey
The Vanuatu Department of Tourism (DoT), and Planet Happiness have partnered to launch the Vanuatu Happiness Index Survey which measures the happiness and well-being of Ni Vanuatu throughout Vanuatu’s six provinces. The Vanuatu Happiness Index Survey will enable the DoT to engage communities to measure well-being, moving beyond only measuring visitor arrivals, visitor satisfaction and contribution to GDP. Director of Tourism, Mr Jerry Spooner suggested that “Our well-being and our resilience are supported by access to customary land and natural resources, traditional knowledge and practice, meaningful employment and strong communities. Therefore, we must ensure we are not trying to apply Western concepts of development and growth, that negatively impact on the very things that support our well-being and resilience”.
The Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Strategy (2021-2025), recently launched by the Honourable Minister for Trade, Commerce and Ni Vanuatu Business Mr James Bule, puts forward 4 themes (Well-being, Resilience, Diversification and Sustainability) to guide the ongoing management and development of sustainable tourism. Mr Spooner suggested “As part of our well-being theme in the Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Strategy (2021-2025) the DoT, with the support of Planet Happiness, tourism stakeholders, Government Departments and communities will use the findings of the Vanuatu Happiness Index Survey to ensure meaningful engagement of our communities throughout all the 6 Provinces in the management and planning of tourism in addition to tracking tourism’s contribution to the Vanuatu National Sustainable Development Plan (2016-2030) objectives, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). When integrated with Vanuatu’s Sustainable Tourism Policy (2019-2030), the findings will contribute to building Vanuatu’s position as one of the Pacific’s most sustainable destinations”.
Planet Happiness works with tourism organizations around the world to deploy the Happiness Index. The aim is to support local stakeholders to implement measures based on the findings of the survey to improve the quality of life of host destinations. “Planet Happiness helps destinations move beyond a narrow tourism dollar and GDP agenda,” said Dr Paul Rogers, co-founder and director of Planet Happiness. "Planet Happiness will support Vanuatu’s Department of Tourism by deploying the Vanuatu Happiness Index Survey and piloting dashboards with the ability to quickly and easily assess overall well-being and support the design of interventions to promote tourism and community well-being resilience and recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic in Vanuatu” said Laura Musikanski, author, lawyer, and co-founder of Planet Happiness, a project of the Happiness Alliance.
Dr Cherise Addinsall is volunteering with Planet Happiness to raise awareness of the Happiness and Well-being movement in the South Pacific and has supported Planet Happiness to adapt the Happiness Index Survey to fit within a Vanuatu context. Dr Addinsall suggested “It’s been such a privilege to support Planet Happiness to expand the Happiness & Well-Being Movement and I’m so pleased to see Vanuatu again leading the way in the journey to sustainable tourism and ensuring meaningful engagement of communities in destination management”. The DoT is now training staff throughout the Provinces to deploy the Vanuatu Happiness Index Survey and are encouraging all of Vanuatu’s citizens to take the survey. You can find the link to the survey on the DoT website, facebook page and by clicking on the Vanuatu Happiness Index Survey link in this article.