18 Outer Islands Tourism operators attend pre-TOKTOK workshop 2023
18 Outer Islands Tourism operators attend pre-TOKTOK workshop 2023 || Picture Courtesy: Department of Tourism (Facebook)

Port-Vila, Vanuatu: The Department of Tourism (DOT), in partnership with the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) and the Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP) funded by the Australian Government, conducted a one-day pre-TOKTOK workshop for eighteen (18) Ni-Vanuatu outer islands tourism operators in Port-Vila on August 31, 2023.

All 18 outer island tourism operators and SHEFA business owners were carefully selected based on their registration process and were recommended by each tourism provincial office, as they were trained to meet international market-ready expectations, according to the press release by the Department of Tourism of Vanuatu.

This initiative is a first of its kind, and it aims to bring all Ni-Vanuatu tourism businesses to an international tourism and hospitality standard, using the Vanuatu Tourism Standards as the minimum criteria.

“It is very important that our Ni-Vanuatu tourism operators understand international tourism standards as they venture into growing their businesses to target a greater international audience, especially now after the reopening of the borders,” said Paul Pio, Director of the Department of Tourism.

“The Meet The Market workshop is a very useful opportunity for the operators, and we intend to continue building on this partnership to ensure all our operators are not only product-ready but also market-ready. The Vanuatu Government, through the Department of Tourism, annually invests a lot of financial resources into Tourism Product Development across all six provinces, and we must ensure the sustainability of these Ni-Vanuatu-owned businesses in the tourism value chain. It is important that they do understand their market first and know how to trade with international partners in order to effectively see their return on investments”, Director Pio continued.

Accordingly, the event was proudly sponsored by the Vanuatu Skills Partnership. The workshop titled “MEET THE MARKET” took place at VSP’s Conference Room yesterday from 09:00 am through to 3:00 pm and was conducted by Ms Lea Faccarello, a market coordinator engaged by VSP.

“The Vanuatu Skills Partnership highly values our collaboration with the Department of Tourism, as this sector is a critical driver of growth and local entrepreneurship across the country. We are here to support the Department’s vision of market readiness so that all tourism operators are at the forefront of international competitiveness”, affirmed Director Fremden Yanhambath.

The objectives of the workshop are for the provincial tourism operators to know what TOKTOK Vanuatu is and be able to know their unique selling points in order to confidently sell their products and trade with international buyers/partners. It aims to also build and strengthen its business network, connecting it with the right trade partners overseas that meet its clientele. The workshop will also assist them in crafting compelling pitches to effectively sell their products to potential trade partners.

Understanding what happens after the largest tourism exchange event – TOKTOK Vanuatu – is also important, so they don’t lose sight of what they have learned and built from, so they can ensure that the relationships established with the trade partners are maintained in the long run.

“We see this Meet The Market training as critical in assisting these businesses, new to TOK TOK Vanuatu, understand the business and commercial environment of the tourism industry. We want to give them the best chance of success. The program is specifically designed to assist with selling and communicating their experiences and making sure they are comfortable networking in this business environment. The Vanuatu Tourism Office Congratulates all business operators involved for this initiative on meeting the market so that in future they can grow their businesses confidently”, says CEO Adela Issachar Aru from the Vanuatu Tourism Office, as per the update.

The Department of Tourism and the Vanuatu Skills Partnership have jointly funded the attendance of the 18 outer islands’ tourism operators. Two (2) tourism operators from each province were selected and flown and accommodated in Port-Vila ahead of TOKTOK Vanuatu 2023. They will participate in the Business To Business (B2B) event during TOKTOK Vanuatu. From this workshop, the Department of Tourism will then evaluate the number of business negotiations and successful agreements and review their business growth and trade progression.

Background about TOKTOK Vanuatu: TOKTOK Vanuatu is Vanuatu’s largest tourism exchange event, where international tourism trade partners, including travel agents, destination product managers, travel media journalists, tourism wholesalers travel to Vanuatu to experience the tourism and hospitality offering of the destination including site inspections, business networking and review/negotiation of business dealings/contracting.

According to the update, over 40 international trade partners, or what we call “buyers”, will meet with over 60 Vanuatu tourism operators, called “sellers”. This is the first edition of TOKTOK Vanuatu, three years since the reopening of the borders in 2022. All international buyers have been given the option to explore Santo and Tanna in addition to the Efate site inspections in various tourism businesses.

TOKTOK Vanuatu 2023 B2B will be held at Warwick Le Lagon Resort and Spa on the 01st of September 2023.