Vanuatu Launching Government-Owned Online Tourism Booking Portal, ‘Only In Vanuatu’

First-ever booking portal for Vanuatu will market tourism Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises throughout the 83 Islands in Vanuatu

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 04, 2017) – The Minister of Tourism, Joe Natuman, is launching today on Tanna the first ever Government-owned online tourism booking portal, ‘Only in Vanuatu’.

For bungalow operators throughout Vanuatu, there has never been a better day for such good news.

The first-ever booking portal for Vanuatu will market tourism Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) throughout the 83 Islands in Vanuatu.

In his speech Natuman stated, “The Vanuatu Department of Tourism has for many years worked on product development with tourism MSME (predominantly ni-Vanuatu) tourism operators.

“It is a core element of the Ministry of Tourism mission and work to date has been centered primarily on training, capacity building, and accreditation plus all the associated policy and regulatory issues.

“More recently work has extended to include the Vanuatu Tourism Ambassador Programme focusing on local transport providers and leveraging a parallel project funded by New Zealand, the Discovery Trails Project.

“We are now focusing on empowering small operators with online marketing tools.”

Natuman continues that, “Vanuatu is moving forward in a big leap.

“We are introducing the first ever online booking portal to be owned by government to support small operators in the whole South Pacific.

“The ultimate aim of this project is to create a viable and thriving MSME tourism sector.

“Not only will this deliver much needed jobs to the local communities, it will also result in the emergence of a whole new tourism experience for travellers, one which has remained until now largely hidden and inaccessible to tourists.

“Experiential/adventure tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the global tourism market, and brings wide benefits and we want to prepare Vanuatu for this.”

The minister of tourism says 415 websites funded by the Vanuatu Government will be built for small operators throughout Vanuatu and all these websites will be added to the booking portal.

“We want to provide tourist a one stop shop to browse all of Vanuatu on one location on the internet and also provide the tourist options to choose any of the 83 Islands of Vanuatu to visit.

“All websites being built for small operators are very responsive (mobile friendly) which is extremely important as over 60% of all travel search is now done using mobile devices.

“In addition the websites are fast loading, have social media links for linking as well as sharing, have photo and video galleries, Google maps, live chat.

“The sites are easy to update, easy to add extra pages to and, most importantly, designed for MSMEs to use with features such as tooltips and auto image resizing built in.

“I am launching the program today for Tafea Province, and will in two weeks’ time launch the program for Shefa Province.

“All the provinces are featured in the booking portal and our aim is to equip every small operator in Vanuatu with a website and a booking engine,” he said.

The marketing portal, ‘Only in Vanuatu’, will directly promote the small operators in Vanuatu. It will have a focus on experiential and adventure travel. The portal that is launching has the ability to process instant online bookings for the small operators with the booking engine set up and will also provide data to the Ministry of Tourism on enquiries, bookings, and searches on the internet.

Natuman stated: “Most importantly, this portal will provide tangible evidence to the small operators in Vanuatu that the government is committed to support them and I want to encourage them to participate actively in the accreditation program as a first step in them qualifying to get assistance from the Department of Tourism in promoting them to the market.”

The works on building websites for small operators on two provinces have been completed.

The Ministry of Tourism says it will notify small operators once their websites are live and will provide support to them in enquiries, bookings and marketing and all works will continue to move into other provinces.

The ‘Only in Vanuatu’ program will be an online home to micro, small and medium enterprises, especially Accommodation Operators, Tour Operators, Transport Operators, and Handicraft Operators.

The booking portal is being marketed through 58 countries around the world; and will also be marketed inside cruise ships and airlines.

In his closing remarks, the Minister of Tourism thanked the hardworking staff in the Department of Tourism, the Vanuatu Tourism Office for their commitment to putting small operators online as it will greatly support the individual efforts put in by the operators, but most importantly provide small operators exposure to the market.

The ‘Only in Vanuatu’ booking portal will also be added to the TripAdvisor booking portal and the Ministry of Tourism says arrangements have already been made for this to happen.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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