EIF Project supports efforts to rebuild Vanuatu's vital tourism infrastructure
Port Vila, 28 August 2015 - The Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project was launched today during a ground-breaking ceremony hosted by Vanuatu's Deputy Prime Minister, with the participation of Government Ministers, New Zealand's High Commissioner, the Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat for the EIF, Members of Parliament and other trade and development partners.
Tourism is one of the key sectors driving trade development and supporting efforts to provide more jobs and reduce poverty in Vanuatu.
The EIF‑backed Tourism Infrastructure Project is a major breakthrough in terms of Aid for Trade coordination and EIF capacity to leverage additional resources. A total of US$18.8 million were raised for the project. The Government of New Zealand contributed US$15,593,400, in addition to US$3,150,000 from the EIF Trust Fund and US$61,900 from the Government of Vanuatu.
Speaking before performing the ground-breaking, Vanuatu's Deputy Prime Minister H. E. Mr Moana Carcasses, said, "This day constitutes a significant milestone for not only Port Vila, but Vanuatu as a whole, where two of our major tourism precincts, as well as the main wharf access, will be sensibly enhanced to ensure improved experience for our visitors." He also acknowledged the ultimate goal of the project to increase the country’s economic growth potential by offering a series of improved infrastructure facilities to local business owners and improving Vanuatu’s image "as a critical destination in the Pacific region".
The project aims to transform the seafront into a functional, safe and attractive area and is expected to contribute to a 36% increase in tourism arrivals by 2017, positively impact on job creation and reduce urban poverty. As key players in the tourism sector, women are among the main beneficiaries of the project and in particular the 11,000 working in the handicrafts sector, traders and owners of businesses linked to tourism in Vanuatu.
The High Commissioner of New Zealand, H.E. Ms Georgina Roberts welcomed the launch, noting New Zealand's strong commitment to the Aid for Trade agenda in the Pacific and in particular to Vanuatu. She noted, "The Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project is part of the New Zealand Government’s commitment to support Vanuatu’s economic development, and through tourism in particular." She appreciated the partnership between the Government of Vanuatu, the EIF and New Zealand in delivering a project that will result in a revitalized seafront and cruise ship precinct, "a project that will change the face of Port Vila, the gateway to Vanuatu", she highlighted.
The launch of the Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project brings a contribution towards Vanuatu's reconstruction, after the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam in March 2015. The project will help Vanuatu to rebuild its vital tourism infrastructure and in particular support the regeneration of the tourism portside and seafront precincts in Port Vila. The project also ensures an integrated approach to environmental management, with an improvement in resilience to natural disasters and climate change. As an example, the building of a rock revetment along the bay will help protect the coastline from further erosion, other cyclones and sea level rise.
"Tourism is immensely important. It is one sector of the economy that touches almost every aspect of human life," EIF Executive Director, Mr Ratnakar Adhikari noted. "It is our conviction and belief that the project launched today will help create new employment and income opportunities for Ni-Vanuatu, establishing links to the rural economy, alleviating poverty and ensuring economic empowerment of women, which will eventually contribute to sustainable development."
The Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project forms a central part of Vanuatu's Trade Policy Framework. The National Trade Development Committee and the Trade Development Division are mandated to leverage resources for its sustainable implementation, in coordination with other tourism and related sector support initiatives.
Notes to editors:
The EIF is a multi-donor trust fund, which provides financial and technical support to build trade capacity in all 48 LDCs. The EIF is the only global Aid for Trade programme exclusively designed for the LDCs and is therefore uniquely placed to assist countries to develop sustainable trade strategies, which have a positive impact on people's lives through the promotion of private sector development and job and income opportunities.
In Vanuatu, the EIF and its predecessor, the Integrated Framework, have been supporting trade mainstreaming work since 2007 with the initial Diagnostic Trade Integration Study as well as a project providing support including entrepreneurship training to cooperatives, updating the Customs Duties Act and related legislation and the successful WTO Accession. This project also established the National Implementation Unit, which was merged into the Trade Development Division under the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni‑Vanuatu Business. The Division with the assistance of the EIF, is now able to steer funding and technical assistance from major donors such as Australia and New Zealand in a coordinated manner to support priority projects falling under the Trade Policy Framework.