The Travel Bug - Issue 13
Good Tips for Yachties Visiting
Vanuatu is helping cruising yachtsmen get
the most from a visit to the nation’s eighty-three scattered islands through a new website that encourages
mingling with the local people and embracing their unique customs and cultures. The site also gives tips on
Vanuatu’s village land and reef ownership system that, unlike most places in the western world, does not end
at high-water mark but extends over reefs for as far as they can be seen. And importantly so as not to cause
offence, it assists with simple advice on how to recognise taboos used to protect and sustain agricultural
and marine resources – generally a type of local leaf attached to a
The website, that was developed with the
assistance of UNESCO, also says that the friendly Vanuatu locals will happily cooperate with visiting
yachties, including acting as guides to show them their village and any unique natural attractions, but that
permission to venture inland or across reefs should first be sought from the local Chief, a sign of respect
for local authority. "The general rule of thumb is that if you can see a reef then it is under Custom Marine
Tenure (CMT) and recognised by the Constitution," the website says. "Access to these reefs is exclusively
restricted to clan members who have tenure over the reefs, unless permission is given to others by the local
Chief. "Only resources found in the deep untenured waters, such as tuna and other pelagic fish are openly
accessible to cruising yachts."
The website also says any request from custom landowners for a
fee to fish their reefs or go onto their lands should not be seen as an attempt to take advantage of visitors, but
a means of protecting land and reef tenure. Similarly, periodic fishing restriction taboos are placed over some
reefs that may not be accessed or fished to enable resources to rebuild, and taboos may also be placed over
particular types of fishing gear such as spearguns. The website details how these taboos can be easily recognised.
Cruising yachtsmen planning a visit to Vanuatu can access the Custom Marine Tenure website through http://vanuatuculture.org/projects/230206_yachtieguide.shtml.
(Source: David Ellis
Vanuatu-hotels.vu has been developed by John and Silvana
Nicholls of Vanuatu Standby Accommodation acting as the local partner of WHL in securing accommodation product in
Vanuatu and the day to day management of the site. As part of the program to assist small (i.e. the NiVanuatu owned
and operated bungalows) and medium size accommodation operations. John and Silvana conduct a free advisory service
to assist these local operators in developing their business.
As the General Manager of the Vanuatu Tourism Office, Linda
Kalpoi commented: "The Vanuatu Tourism Office is delighted and welcomes the launch of Vanuatu-Hotels.vu as another
window of promoting the beautiful Vanuatu Islands to the world. We would like to congratulate IFC and The World
Bank for this great initiative that will expose the locally owned bungalows along with hotels and resorts in
Vanuatu through the internet, the greatest medium for information and business."
John Nicholls of Vanuatu Hotels reports: "I first heard of the
IFC initiative three years ago and was fascinated by their operating model of global assistance with local
management, it made so much sense! How can an on-line booking business service the innumerable questions from
travellers wanting to visit such a diverse country as Vanuatu when answers are generated from a database in London
or Montreal? Only a local operator living in the destination with 'real time' information can provide this. The
other advantage is that a local operator cares about their destination. A Worldhotel-link.com core objective which
we enthusiastically support is their initiative in Sustainable Tourism.
As too many tourism destinations around the world are now
experiencing environmental problems, we must all get involved to safeguard our beautiful country. WHL sophisticated
'back of house' and marketing support is exemplary and with their assistance we hope to have a positive impact on
tourism to Vanuatu, especially for the business and independent traveller." (Source: Vanuatu Hotels Media
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