Marine Atlas: Maximizing Benefits for Vanuatu

BEYOND THE BEACH: MARINE TOURISM Vanuatu’s diverse and growing marine tourism sector is worth millions to the economy, accounting for around 20 per cent of GDP in 2012 (Ministry of Tourism, Industry, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business, 2013). It requires careful management if it is to complement rather than endanger the very ecosystems it relies on.

“Discover what matters” is Vanuatu’s tourism slo- gan. The country’s marine tourism and recreation activities include scuba diving, snorkelling, day boat charters, day tours and recreational boating, as well associated accommodation (Pascal et al., 2015). In 2012, 108,000 visitors arrived in Vanu- atu by air and 213,000 by cruise ship (Ministry of Tourism, Industry, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business, 2013). A moderate growth scenario pre- dicted that annual arrivals may exceed 500,000 in 2018 (Ministry of Tourism, Industry, Commerce and Ni-Vanuatu Business, 2013). Outdoor activities and sightseeing are the focal points of tourism in Va- nuatu, which directly supported 10,000 jobs (13.6 per cent of total employment) and contributed 44.5 per cent of GDP in 2016 (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2017). The majority of tourism facilities are concentrated on Efaté, especially around Port Vila, Luganville and the east coast of Espíritu Santo, and on Tan- na. There are also a smaller number of tourist fa- cilities on Pentecost, Ambrym and Malekula, with very small operations on other islands. Visitors come to Vanuatu mainly through the three inter- national airports: Bauerfield International Airport in Port Vila, Santo-Pekoa International Airport in Luganville, and Whitegrass Airport on Tanna. Bau- erfield is the country’s primary international airport, hosting direct flights to and from eight international locations, while there are smaller airports on many of the smaller islands, as seen on the map. Cruise ships, ferries and yachts transport tourists through Vanuatu’s waters, with eight cruise ship ports in Vanuatu. A total of 248 stops from 21 cruise ships occurred in 2017. Of these, 43 per cent were scheduled for Port Vila, 35 per cent for Mystery Island and 14 per cent for Champagne Beach (Crew Center, 2017). Over the past 10 years the number of cruise ship arrivals in Vanuatu has grown by an average of 15 per cent per year (Net Balance Management Group Pty Ltd, 2014). In 2013, more than 240,000 people came to Vanu- atu by cruise ship, spending more than 490,000 passenger days on the islands (Net Balance Man- agement Group Pty Ltd, 2014). In a 2014 report, Net Balance Management Group Pty Ltd found that cruise companies, their passengers and crew

Maintaining identity Nguna and Pele have a strong traditional cul- tural identity surrounding turtle hunting. How can this identity be maintained while con- serving these important marine species? And what role can tourists play? A turtle-tagging programme and awareness-raising activities have been established in the Nguna-Pele marine protected area, actively involving tour- ists. Over the years, many ecotourism visitors have sponsored sea turtles, contributing to

Vanuatu. The 2013 Vanuatu Cruise Survey showed that 90 per cent of cruise passengers to Vanuatu were from Australia. There is also an abundance of yacht anchorages in all provinces of Vanuatu. These are shown on the accompanying map, which was compiled using in- formation from Vanuatu Cruising (2014). There are also two established marinas in Vanuatu: the Point and the Yachting World Sea Wall, both of which are located in Port Vila. Vanuatu is a world-renowned dive destination. The islands of Efaté, Santo and Tanna are home to the country’s best and most visited dive sites. The variety of diving in Vanuatu is enormous, with reefs, wrecks and caves aplenty and all with an abundance of marine life. The wreck of the SS President Coolidge is consistently ranked as one of the best dive sites in the world. Approximately 47,000 dives by more than 9,000 divers were undertaken in Vanuatu in 2013 (Pascal et al., 2015), 65 per cent of which took place in Efaté (Pascal et al., 2015). Around 9,000 snorkel- ling trips were also undertaken. Although there are no live-aboard dive charters that consistently operate in Vanuatu, five companies run live-aboard fishing char- ters. These primarily operate around Efaté, South Malekula, the Maskelynes, Epi and the Shepherd Islands. The recent annual catch from game-fishing boats ranges from 48 mt to 64 mt (McCoy, 2013). All of these activities make marine tourism an im- portant sector for the Vanuatu economy, accounting for a total gross value of VUV 1.1 billion per year. increased household incomes and encouraging the younger generation to follow old customary practices of turtle hunting, but for conservation rather than consumption. This has resulted in the number of sea turtles consumed among all villages on the two islands dropping to under five per year. At the same time, the annual number of sea turtles tagged has quadrupled since this initiative was introduced, with hun- dreds of turtles now being monitored.










VUV 1.1 B





spent AUD $34.6 million in Vanuatu in 2013, esti- mated to increase to AUD $42.8 million in 2016.

Private businesses receive 90 per cent of this expenditure. Additional indirect stimulus, resulting from second-round spending from those busi- nesses benefiting directly from cruise-related activities, amounted to an estimated AUD $18.6 million. Each cruise ship voyage to Vanuatu brings an average of AUD $260,000 in spending, with each individual spending an average of AUD $125. Port Vila receives 85 per cent of this passenger expenditure. Additional economic benefits, such as destination development, are estimated at over AUD $30 million. In this way, the cruise ship industry is estimated to support up to 3,250 jobs in

Scheduled cruise ship visits by port for 2017

Port Vila

Mystery Island

Champagne Beach
















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