Vanuatu is a large group of islands, but so little known in the South Pacific and just a tiny dot so often overlooked on the international scale. When it comes to marketing Vanuatu the first priority seems to be ensuring that we are ‘on the map’ for tourism development. However when you start to consider marketing Vanuatu we have to acknowledge there is some pretty tough competition out there with both Fiji and Bali hot destinations for the Australian and NZ tourism market. So what do we have that we can market as unique to Vanuatu?
It seem the answer has traditionally been that we are ‘the happiest place on earth’ which was based on a study that is now a little dated, and given we’re big on aide and have some really pressing third world development issues is this really the best we can do?
What about marketing Vanuatu as the step back in time? A place where traditional life is still evident and something to be proud of. A world where the ipod and streaming would more likely be thought of as a plant and river than entertainment for your teenagers!
My 3 year old nephew arrived to visit us the fist time, even at his age, the first thing he said when he walked into our (relatively modern) house on the outskirts of Port Vila was “where’s the TV?” when we said “we don’t have one” he thought it was a joke and laughed. Five minutes later he went to him mum and said, “Mum they say they don’t have a TV?” with a worried look on his face. Yep there are still places where people live without TV. And believe it or not, we survive.
So let’s get started on marketing Vanuatu as the world most people left behind. Where the air is clean, the water is blue, where the reefs are still alive and teeming with fish, where doing nothing but sitting about chatting is still allowed – in fact this is most Vanuatu family’s favorite Sunday afternoon pass time.