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TOURISM BUSINESS SUPPORT PROGRAM

As part of the Governments COVID-19 Strategy for Immediate Safety, Response and Economic Recovery Effort it was mandated through the Department of Tourism (DoT) to support the tourism industry with financial stimulus, mitigation and adaptation activities, thereby ensuring Vanuatu is ready to receive international tourists once border restrictions are lifted.
 
The Tourism Business Support Program is under Pillar 3 of the Tourism Crises Response and Recovery Plan to ensure that tourism businesses are appropriately supported during border restrictions. The criteria for the Tourism Business Support Program are aligned to the Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Policy (2019-2030) objectives and guided by the activities within the Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Strategy (2021-2025).
 
The criteria is specifically identifying tourism businesses that have: shown resilience through adaptation of their business model; implemented strategies to retain as many staff as possible; addressed the over dependence on imported goods and services; improved waste management practices; and are showing or seeking to implement a shift to renewable energy infrastructure. Unfortunately, not all tourism businesses in Vanuatu will qualify for the Tourism Business Support Program, therefore it was vital that businesses detail as clear as possible why they should be selected as part of the program and what kind of support they are seeking.
 
As part of its Tourism Crisis Response and Recovery Program the Dept of Tourism (DoT) has launched the Tourism Business Support Program (TBSP) which has two main objectives:
 
1.      Technically support and financially assist tourism businesses in the short term to survive the impact of the COVID 19 crises and to have them ready to receive local tourists while they wait for the border restrictions to be uplifted and to also be ready to receive international tourists for when the borders do open.
 
2.      To encourage tourism businesses to follow the principles of sustainable and responsible tourism, including product diversification, increased local benefits, safe business operations, energy efficiency, waste management and water conservation.”
Under the TBSP financial assistance will be available to eligible and approved tourism businesses under three categories:
·        Tourism Business Survival Grants: for costs associated with cleaning, maintenance, gardening, security, safety and utility bills.
·        Renewable Energy Subsidy Scheme: assistance for audit checks and appliance purchasing through the National Green Energy Fund.
·        Agritourism Support Program: assistance for selected projects who have integrated the tourism and agriculture sectors into their products.
 
Currently, over 350 tourism operators have applied for the Tourism Business Support Program (TBSP). The TBSP management team has provided awareness and application assistance workshops in all of the Provinces whilst the application was available on the website and in the Provincial Offices for the Department of Tourism. The application process for Phase One closed on the 30th November 2021. The criteria for Phase One of the program is to ensure the businesses have a Tourism Permit, Business license and Signed a code of conduct.
 
Another TBSP Steering Committee meeting will be held for the committee to approve the applications presented to them so that payments for the Business Survival Grant for the successful applications to begin receiving their support in February. Communications will be sent direct to the Business Operators of the outcome of their application.
 
Meanwhile, audits will continue for businesses that have not yet been audited. The Business Survival Grants are part of Phase One of the TBSP, and the Department of Tourism would like to thank the New Zealand Government for their continued support in securing funding for this program.
 
Due to unforeseen circumstances, it has taken much longer than anticipated to roll out funding; however, our team has remained committed and focused on seeing the program through. We are looking forward to continuing the rollout of Phase One and commencing Phase Two of the program mid 2022 which includes Facility Improvements and Training Programs. The applicants will be reassessed for this assistance.
 
The applicants who applied for renewable energy and agritourism have had their details sent to the respective parties and they should be in contact with you.
 
For more information regarding the TBSP, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
To find out more about any of DoT's support programs, you can visit our website: https://www.tourism.gov.vu call 33400 or visit your nearest Department of Tourism Office.

Department of Tourism
PMB 9099
George Pompidou Road Port Vila
Phone: (678) 33 400
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: tourism.gov.vu
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