Tourists holiday here each year to take in its unique culture and natural landscape, with the tourism industry contributing around 50% of the country’s economy.
But, bringing vacationers and the economic benefits they provide to the more remote areas of Vanuatu is a challenge. With basic services like steady electricity unavailable, it’s difficult to encourage tourists to travel off the beaten path.
According to the Vanuatu National Statistics Office, only 29% of visitors arriving by air in June 2016 visited the outer islands, with most tourists choosing to visit the hotspots of Tanna, Santo and Efate.
A significant issue is the lack of secure energy and other basic tourism services such as internet access and transport. Many of the remote islands’ tourism bungalows rely on petrol generation sets which only provide a few hours of electricity each day. Without a steady electricity supply, tourism operators can’t provide the comforts that international tourists demand, and are missing out on the opportunity to improve their livelihoods.
However, a new plan is underway to bring clean and secure energy to Vanuatu’s more remote, family-run tourist bungalows, providing long-awaited benefits to distant islands. The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), an intergovernmental organisation based in Korea, is working in close collaboration with the Department of Energy and Department of Tourism to provide renewable energy to grassroots tourism operators.
This initiative aligns with the government’s updated National Energy Road Map (NERM), which seeks to improve affordability and access to energy for rural communities and tourism businesses. Under the roadmap, 25% of rural tourism bungalows will use renewable forms of electricity by 2020, and 65% by 2030. Read more.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS