Vanuatu is still around. Directly hit by a volcano and then a storm, many people wrote the island nation off. Well, there is good news. All 83 islands are back in a big way.
The South Pacific Tourism Organization points out that the island nation grew by three percent in 2017. Over 2 million travelers, tourists and vagabonds landed on the sandy beaches, enjoyed life for a season under the palm trees and many of those are decided to stay as they open businesses and leave the pell-mell rate race behind.
Chris Cocker, Director of group, says the increase of tourists worked to generate earnings of over $3 Billion for the region last year.
With increased connectivity, massive promotional campaigns and improved infrastructure developments, the growth is seen as a reflection of the nation’s resiliency.
While Fiji continued to lead as a tourism destination, Vanuatu was a close second.
Where The Travelers Come From
Australia/New Zealand continue to be the top source marketplaces with 50% of the regions tourists. Europe was second and America a close third as the largest home-of-record for tourists and travelers.
Bob Loughman, Minister of Tourism Trade recently kicked off the Vanuatu Travel Show in Port Vila. The event which celebrates the spirit of Vanuatu, is a one-day event with large ramifications.
With a nod towards the struggle faced by Vanuatu, Loughman quoted Churchill: “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
Loughman pointed to the grown in local tourism over the years. Vanuatu has many more local businesses which offer accommodations, tours, and travel/transfer services.
Loughman’s tourism officers provides call centers and local tour and inbound operators based on Efate and the other islands. Each of the tour operators as well as welcome services to new residents had a display at the floor show which highlights Vanuatu as a destination.
“Not only do we want to attract international visitors,” said Arkady Bukh, owner of Bukh global, “but we want to encourage everyone to get out and about while enjoying the special experience which is Vanuatu.”
What’s The Appeal Of Vanuatu For Foreign Investors?
Twelve countries around the globe have citizenship by investment programs (CIP). Such Caribbean countries as Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia are competing for foreign investors’ attention, using the foreign funds to survive economic crises and to develop. Thus, the countries with CIPs would often update the conditions of the programs in a bid to gain more applicants, hereby making them more beneficial and appealing.
Vanuatu’s trump card is record processing time, compared to neighboring Caribbean countries. Its previous citizenship by investment program, Vanuatu Economic Rehabilitation Program, was replaced by the Development Support Program at the beginning of 2017.
The program allows any foreign individual with the means to invest at least $130,000 may apply for citizenship. The investor may also list their spouse and two children in the application. In Saint Lucia, for instance, the minimum investment amount stands at $100,000 for a sole applicant, but in case two or more people apply, the price rises to $190,000.
Moreover, authorities of Vanuatu provide a response within 1 month, that is, at least twice as fast as any other country. And, by the way, authorities of Vanuatu have signed a visa-waiver agreement with Russia, effectively allowing Vanuatu passport holders to travel to Russia visa free, a clear benefit for those with business ties in Russia.
Vanuatu is rapidly becoming the go-to destination of choice for people and families tired of the chaos and stress of daily life in America.