On the 9th November 2022 Vanuatu will receive its first cruise ship back to its shores in over 2 and a half years. The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) have partnered to support the Department of Tourism, Land Transport associations and authority, with necessary steps to prepare bus drivers, taxis and tour operators to meet cruise tourism requirements for this momentous occasion, which will benefit businesses in and around Port Vila immensely.
The Department of Tourism and the Vanuatu Tourism Office has the responsibility for the readiness plan, and a focus area is ensuring that the industry satisfy the requirements agreed to between the cruise ship companies and the Vanuatu Government. These include strict hygiene safety standards to make sure that cruise passengers and workers in the industry are well cared for. Another part is the inspection of buses and taxis to ensure only compliant transport operators are allowed to collect passengers on the wharf. To support the Department of Tourism in implementing this, VCCI’s role will be to provide private sector transport operators with training in safe business operations, customer service and other important standards including dress code.
The teams working in partnership on this initiative include the Port Vila Shefa and Luganville Sanma Land Transport Associations and the Vanuatu Land Transport Authority. The land transport associations have an important role to play in inspecting and passing buses and taxis for operation, and ensuring that all licenses and insurances are up to date and correct.
For a buses, taxis, and vehicles operating tours the process to register for wharf access has three steps:
- Register with the Port Vila or Sanma Land Transport Association – this includes a check on drivers licenses, roadworthiness of vehicles, and insurance. Once this is completed the land transport association will register the driver/owner for step 2.
- Attend a training workshop – VCCI will be providing this service, and this is mandatory. Only after passing the half day course can a business move to step 3.
- Once you have completed the 2 steps above, you will receive a pass to access the wharf on cruise ship days (one for the vehicle, and one for the driver).
This same process will apply for both Port Vila and Luganville.
To date VCCI has trained over 200 transport operators. The feedback has been extremely positive, and we feel great for being able to help our local business owners who can benefit from an increase in business via the cruise tourism industry.
The Port Vila wharf traffic management is a joint effort between the Traffic section under the Vanuatu Police Force and the Department of Tourism. This includes liaison between DoT, the Police, and land transport organisations. This plan is important to ensure that there are safe and smooth operations at each of the wharves and provides the best possible first impression to our visitors.