The development of sustainable and responsible tourism in Vanuatu took another step forward on Wednesday with the completion of a national workshop to develop a Human Resources Development (HRD) Strategy for the tourism industry.

“Tourism is a very competitive global industry and Vanuatu wants to position itself as a sustainable tourism destination, offering high quality experiences to our visitors,” said Mr. Jerry Spooner, Director of Tourism. “That means our tourism workers, whether they are a receptionist at a large Port Vila hotel, or a tour guide on an outer island, must be able to offer consistently high levels of service”.

Workshop participants heard that 72% of tourism businesses find it hard/ very hard to recruit ni-Vanuatu workers with the required skills, and that there is currently a high level of on-the-job training in the Vanuatu tourism industry. Surveys also showed that there is a strong demand for short courses and flexible delivery of accredited Vanuatu tourism qualifications.

“Tourism training in Vanuatu was initially set up to serve the larger tourism businesses around Port Vila, but the challenge now is to ensure that quality training is available to the many small and medium businesses that have been established to serve a growing tourism industry, and that training is available to all tourism workers, wherever they are located throughout the six provinces of Vanuatu. That is what the Government wants,” said Mr. Spooner.

“We also want to ensure that tourism training promotes sustainable tourism, so that our visitors connect with Vanuatu’s environment, culture and its people, and that tourism activities enhance, conserve and protect our unique environmental and cultural resources.

“Vanuatu has some excellent training facilities, and we are confident that our training providers will rise to the challenge of delivering quality training to meet the diverse needs of our tourism workforce. What is needed is a stronger partnership between the tourism industry and the Vanuatu skills system, to ensure that tourism training meets the needs of the industry. It must be demand driven, not supply driven.

“Our approach in the tourism sector is consistent with the Vanuatu National Human Resources Development Plan and we look forward to a close working relationship with the Government agencies responsible for delivery of that national plan.

“Thanks also to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who has been the lead donor in the tourism sector for many years, and who has covered the workshop costs. We look forward to their ongoing support to implement the Tourism HRD Strategy,” Director Spooner concluded.

A short Discussion Paper outlining the proposed strategic directions for tourism training in Vanuatu is available from the Department of Tourism. Any stakeholders who were not able to attend the workshop are welcome to obtain a copy by contacting Mrs. Helen Rarua via Email: [email protected]. Written comments or questions on the Discussion Paper can be submitted until 1 December 2020.

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