A 15% increase in tourism footfall highlights a successful year for Vanuatu Tourism. The results have surpassed the figures that were achieved in 2011. In 2011 Vanuatu Tourism played host to a total of 93,960 tourists, which in 2012 swelled to 108,161 tourists. In fact 2012’s fantastic performance has outgrown the all-time record achieved in 2009 by 7000 tourists.
Apart from direct tourists coming into Vanuatu, cruising has also played a significant role in the bumper tourism industry performance of 2012. A number of new cruise itineraries had featured Vanuatu in 2012 which meant more new tourists for the island chain. The year saw a staggering 41% jump in tourists arriving on cruises. In terms of absolute numbers 2012 saw a total of 218,667 passengers arrive on cruise ships compared to 147,938 in 2011.
Australia remains as the top contributor when it came to providing the maximum number of tourists coming into Vanuatu. Australian tourists made up 61% of Vanuatu’s total tourist footfalls. A distant second and third were New Zealand and New Caledonia at 13% and 12% respectively. A sizeable contribution was also made by Japan, USA and Europe. Tourists from Australia seemed to love the island destination as visitation had increased 9.6% to 64,900 in 2012 when compared to 59,200 in 2011.
Commenting on the grand performance of Vanuatu Tourism, Linda Kalpoi, General Manager of Vanuatu Tourism Office, mentioned that they are pleased to find that the core markets have improved over the year along with increase in the other emerging markets. She revealed that VTO was targeting a more humble 10% rise in visitation. She acknowledged the hard work that the tourism industry of Vanuatu and the Vanuatu Tourism Office have put together in order to make all this possible. She also used the opportunity to acknowledge the wholesale partners of Vanuatu Tourism who have been instrumental in driving the total bookings and in effect paving the way for a successful year for the industry.
Ms. Kalpoi added that looking ahead the Vanuatu Tourism Office would be hoping they can build on the success of 2012 and target a further 10% increase in tourist influx to the islands. The hard work that has already been done would work as a launching platform for the industry and they would be looking to capitalize on that. Additionally they would also be looking to increase tourist footfall to the outer islands such as Tanna and Espiritu Santo. Not only will the Vanuatu Tourism Office concentrate on the core markets such as Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, but the emerging markets of Europe, USA and some of the Asian countries will also be in focus as a part of their marketing plans. Primarily all efforts, said Ms. Kalpoi, will be directed towards ensuring that Vanuatu remains the first choice for discerning tourists when it comes to picking a vacation destination in the South Pacific.