Ethical Tourism

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Sustainable tourism

The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”. Maritime or ocean-related tourism are vital sectors of the economy in small island developing States (SIDS), such as Vanuatu. The Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Policy (VSTP) is premised on the vision “to protect and celebrate Vanuatu’s unique environment, culture, customs, and people through sustainable and responsible tourism.” The policy includes five key goals:

  1. Develop and manage a sustainable and responsible tourism industry
  2. Visitors connect with Vanuatu’s environment, culture, and its people
  3. Sustainable and responsible tourism products and services developed, supported, and marketed to attract responsible, high value tourists
  4. Tourism enhances, conserves, and protects the environments and cultural resources of Vanuatu
  5. Sustainable and responsible tourism brings improved income and well-being for Vanuatu and its people

The MJF respects and values the importance of sustainable tourism to Vanuatu’s economy and people. We adhere to the Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Policy (VSTP) framework in all of our work. The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly devastating to Vanuatu’s tourism sector, halting all activities since March 2020. The MFJ is working closely with the Vila Central Hospital and Ministry of Health to provide the best medical support during this difficult time.

How can I visit Vanuatu in a sustainable manner?

When travelling to Vanuatu it’s important to keep in mind sustainable tourism practices that are centred around respecting local people, culture, customs, and environment. Be sure to keep the following principles in mind when being a responsible traveller:

Use efficient modes of transportation

  • Try and opt for public transport where possible, rather than personal drivers or taxis
  • Walk and ride a bike if you are able to
  • If you need to take a car, share the ride with others

Make sustainable food choices

  • Aim for locally grown or sourced food
  • Try and buy food and eat at local markets, restaurants, and food stands
  • Choose plant-based dishes over meat and dairy based where possible

Choose your accommodation carefully

  • Avoid large hotels and stay at locally owned bed and breakfasts or homestays
  • This will also give you a far better understanding of local culture

Support local businesses and artisans

  • Buy your souvenirs from local craftspeople and merchants
  • When looking to buy things, look for locals producing those items rather than purchasing them from large stores

Respect the environment

  • Stick to marked walking paths to avoid degradation of the environment
  • Do not break off coral reef or damage plants
  • Do not litter
  • Do not intrude on wildlife or animals

Respect local culture

  • Be aware of local customs and rules
  • If you’re unsure it’s better to ask someone, rather than make assumptions
  • If staying in homestays, your hosts are good people to ask
  • Try to learn some basic Bislama words – this will be appreciated by locals