Mystery Island In Vanuatu To See Record Number Of Cruise Ships In 2017

Aneityum in Tafea Province to be visited by 120 vessels; second only to Port Vila

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Dec. 14, 2016) – Mystery Island will be setting a new record in 2017, for the highest number of cruise ship calls in a year.

120 cruise ships are expected to visit the tiny islet and port of call off Tafea province next year, said the Director of Tourism (DoT), George Borugu.

Mystery Island [Aneityum Island in Tafea Province] is now the second popular port of call in terms of call numbers after Port Vila, he conveyed.

According to the director, 109 cruise ships are scheduled to visit Mystery this year. Ovation of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship ever to visit the port of call early next year, Director Borugu said.

To make the port of call a memorial adventure, the DoT have been working with tourism authorities such as the Australian Government funded TVET Sector Strengthening Program to prepare the locals to meet tourists expectations, such as improving product standards.

The Tafea Tourism Office Manager has stressed that although Mystery Island holds are large percentage of cruise ships compared to Luganville, the profit locals are receiving is very small as there is nothing for tourists to buy because handicrafts are not competitive, mostly Chinese made products bought from Port Vila.

Therefore, the TVET program and the Tafea Tourism Office have been carrying out awareness’s and training to educate locals on the need of creating more attractions apart from sight seeing and changing the mentality of selling modern handicrafts as souvenirs to tourists.

One of the major activity that was implemented by TVET on Aneityum lately this year was an Agri-Tourism Project.

The TVET’s ‘Skills for Tourism’ Coordinator, Warren Gama, said the project objective is to develop Mystery Island direct revenue and passenger satisfaction by upskilling local operators and business owners in line with tourist demand and expectations.

“To assist in generating more flow-on effects in the farming, livestock, fishing and handicraft production sectors for a more equitable and holistic development impact from cruise business, as well as inter-island trade”, he added.

He stressed that community members lack access to formal skills training opportunities. The project aims to create a value chain approach in linking agriculture and tourism, said Coordinator Gama.

The training on handicraft and value add food production was held at Analcauhat and the training on handicraft and agriculture production was held at the villages of Unmej and Port Port Patrick.

Tourism is the main source of income for people in Tafea province.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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