Natuman addressed World Conference on tourism


KEYNOTE SPEECH FROM THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF VANUATU

 

FIRST WORLD CONFERENCE ON TOURISM FOR DEVELOPMENT

 

HONOURABLE JOE Y NATUMAN

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF VANUATU

 

THE GREAT HALL OF THE PEOPLE

BEIJING, CHINA

 

MAY 19TH 2016

 

Your Excellency, MR Li Jinzao, Chairman of China National Tourism Administration

Your Excellency, Mr Wu Hongbo, UN Under- secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs.

Your Excellency , Mr Taleb Rifai , Secretary – General of World Tourism Organisation.

Your Excellency, Mr Wang Anshun, Mayor of Beijing Municipality.

Excellencies , Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

IT IS WITH GREAT PLEASURE, AND GRATITUDE THAT I HUMBLY STAND BEFORE YOU ALL TODAY TO DELIVER A SPEECH ON BEHALF OF MY PEOPLE AND COUNTRY, THE REPUBLIC OF VANUATU. MAY I TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO REQUEST THE BLESSING OF THE PEOPLE OF THIS BEAUTIFUL LAND OF CHINA TO ALLOW ME, A FOREIGNER, TO MAKE THIS SPEECH ON YOUR COLOURFUL CIVILISATION AND SACRED LAND THAT WAS GIVEN TO YOU BY THE CREATOR.

 

THE REPUBLIC OF VANUATU IS A SMALL COUNTRY OF 83 ISLANDS WITH A POPULATION OF 271,000 PEOPLE LOCATED IN THE SOUTH WEST PACIFIC OCEAN, ABOUT 3,000 MILES FROM AUSTRALIA.  THE REPUBLIC OF VANUATU IS UNIQUE IN OUR WORLD TODAY BECAUSE OF TWO STRIKING FEATURES AND THESE ARE:

  1. ACCORDING TO THE HAPPY PLANET INDEX, VANUATU WAS DECLARED THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON THIS PLANET TWICE, IN 2006 AND AGAIN IN 2010.
  2. SECONDLY, IT HAS THE MOST HAPPIEST AND MOST RESILIENT PEOPLE IN THE WORLD DESPITE NATURAL CHALLENGES CAUSE BY CLIMATE CHANGE SUCH AS THE CATEGORY 5 TROPICAL CYCLONE WHICH DEVASTATED OUR COUNTRY IN 2015,. BUT THANKS FOR THE HELP OF GENEROUS FRIENDS AROUND THE WORLD INCLUDING THIS GREAT COUNTRY, CHINA, WE ARE REBUILDING BACK BETTER AND ARE NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS. OUR PEOPLE ARE WAITING TO SHOW YOU OUR BEAUTIFUL WORLD YOU WILL EVER DREAM OF.

HAPPINESS IN MY COUNTRY IS A QUALITATIVE AND SUBJECTIVE PHENOMENA BUT NEVERTHELESS A VERY IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTIC OF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY GENUINE IN THEIR ACTIONS AND MEANINGFUL IN THEIR INTENTIONS TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL VISITORS TO OUR SHORES ARE WELCOMED WITH WARMTH THAT CAN ONLY BE RECEIVED IN THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON  PLANET EARTH .

 

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IS THEREFORE A PRINCIPLE  LIGHTHOUSE THAT ALWAYS SHINES IN THE HEARTS OF MY PEOPLE BECAUSE IN A COUNTRY WHERE NATURAL DISASTERS IS AS COMMON AS THE ONSET OF DAY AND NIGHT, MAKES SUSTAINABLE LIVING A MUST FOR ALL FAMILIES BECAUSE TOMORROW MAYBE DIFFERENT FROM TODAY OR MAY NEVER COME FOR SOME.

 

FOR MY PEOPLE MOSTLY LIVING IN A SUBSISTENCE ECONOMY IN A LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRY SCENARIO, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IS NOT JUST A POLICY DIRECTION BY THE GOVERNMENT IN ITS 2015-2030 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PLAN BUT A CHARACTERISTIC OF EVERYDAY LIVING WHERE FAMILIES ARE ALWAYS CONCERNED ABOUT TOMORROW. A MEANINGFUL CONCERN FOR TOMORROW IS NOT JUST A PRE-REQUISITE BUT IS A NECESSARY CONDITION THAT MUST BE MET TO ENSURE THAT WE DO NOT DEPRIVE THE RIGHT OF FUTURE GENERATIONS TO ALSO BENEFIT FROM OUR PLENTIFUL WORLD OF TODAY. THEREFORE SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AND PARTICULARLY ONE WHICH RESPECTS THE ENVIRONMENT AND CULTURE, BENEFITS ALL ITS PEOPLE AND MAKES PROVISIONS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS IS A MUST.

 

THE VISION FOR TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN MY COUNTRY IS…TOURISM CELEBRATES VANUATU’S CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT, EMPOWERS ITS PEOPLE AND CAPTIVATES ITS VISITORS THROUGHOUT THE ISLANDS… FOR MY COUNTRY THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE PEOPLE, CULTURE AND THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT IS THE FOUNDATION FOR TOURISM DEVELOPMENT BECAUSE WITHOUT SUCH LINKAGES THE LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY OF THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPMENT WILL BE MEANINGLESS AND NOT ACHIEVABLE. THE MULTI-SECTORAL NATURE OF TOURISM DEVELOPMENT THEREFORE REQUIRES A PARTNERSHIP APPROACH TO ITS DEVELOPMENT AND ONE THAT IS WHOLISTIC IN NATURE BECAUSE WE BELIEVE TOURISM IS EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS.

 

VANUATU’S ECONOMY IS TOURISM DRIVEN BECAUSE OUR THEME IS, “TOURISM IS EVERYBOBY’S BUSINESS “ THEREFORE, IT INVOLVES THE WHOLE SOCIETY INCLUDING THE WOMEN, PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AND THE RURAL COMMUNITIES. TOURISM CONTIBUTES 40 % TO OUR GDP. IT BRINGS IN 75 % OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNINGS  AND PROVIDES OVER 4,000 FULL TIME EMPLOYMENTS.. IN THE LAST ONE AND HALF DECADE, TOURISM HAS HELP OUR POOR FAMILIES PAY FOR SCHOOL FEES FOR THEIR CHILDREN AND PAY MEDICAL FEES. IT HAS HELPED PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITIES SET UP COOPERATIVES AND MEDIUM, SMALL & MICRO ENTERPRISES AND, IT HAS IMPROVED THE LIVES OF MANY NI- VANUATU.

RECOGNISING THE IMPORTANCE OF TOURISM FOR DEVELOPMENT , THE GOVERNMENT OF VANUATU HAS PLACED BUDGETARY SUPPORT TO OUR PRODUCTIVE SECTOR FOR 3 YEARS. THIS IS TO DEVELOP THE PRIVATE SECTOR THROUGH OUT THE COUNTRY IN SUPPORT OF GOVERNMENT- PRIVATE SECTOR LED-GROWTH POLICY. THEREFORE, OUR GOVERNMENT IS ENCOURAGING THE PRIVATE SECTOR GROWTH IN TOURISM BY WELCOMING INVESTMENTS FROM DONORS AND PRIVATE INITIATIVES IN INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENTS SUCH AS AIRPORTS THROUGH SUCH ARRANGEMENTS AS BOT ( BUILD, OPERATE AND TRANSFER)  AND PPP (PUBLIC, PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP).

AT THIS JUNCTURE, I PARTICULARLY INVITE CHINESE INVESTORS INTO MY COUNTRY’S TOURISM SECTOR AS WELL AS IN  INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT. WE ALREADY HAVE SOME BUT WE WANT MORE !

FOR A SMALL ISLAND NATION , WE SEE THE IMPACT OF TOURISM EVERYDAY.  THE CHANGES IT BRINGS TO OUR LIFES .  THE SMILES ON OUR HEALTHY CHILDREN’S FACES ON THEIR WAY TO AND FROM SCHOOL, TELL US THAT WE ARE DOING SOMETHING GOOD FOR OUR PEOPLE. WE HAVE CHOSEN THE RIGHT DEVELOPMENT THROUGH  TOURISM !

 

ONE OTHER FACTOR CONTRIBUTING TO THE GROWTH IN TOURISM IS VANUATU’S PEACEFUL AND GENTLE NATURE. WE PROMOTE OUR MELANESIAN TRADITIONAL CUSTOMS AND CULTURES FOR THE WORLD TO SEE AND TOURISM ITSELF HELPS US TO REVIVE AND PROMOTE OUR CULTURAL CEREMONIES AND HANDICRAFTS.

WE SETTLE OUR DIFFERENCES AND DISPUTES THROUGH OUR PEACEFUL CUSTOM RECONCILIATION CEREMONIES.  OUR DISPUTE SETTLEMENT ARE MEDIATED BY OUR CHIEFS IN OUR CHIEFLY NAKAMALS OR MEETING HOUSES. VANUATU IS KNOWN REGIONALLY FOR PROMOTING PEACE THROUGH OUR PEACEFUL CULTURAL WAYS.

 

LAST YEAR 2015, WE BROUGHT IN 360,000 TOURISTS BY AIR AND SEA AS COMPARED TO OUR 271,000 POPULATION.

THESE TOURISTS, PARTICULARLY FROM OUR MAIN SOURCE MARKETS OF AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND NEW CALEDONIEA, COME IN AND MEET OUR PEOPLE, CREATE FRIENDSHIP AND THUS CONTRIBUTING TO BUILDING PEACE IN OUR REGION. SOME OF THESE TOURISTS RETURN TO OUR SHORES TWO OR THREE TIMES. SOME EVEN COME BACK TO INVEST AND LIVE WITH US.

 

DUE TO THE MULTI-SECTORAL NATURE OF TOURISM DEVELOPMENT THE SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO DEVELOPING COUNTRY SITUATIONS IS ALSO A MUST, ESPECIALLY BUILDING ON SUCCESS STORIES OF THE PAST IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES AND THE IMPORTANCE OF ADOPTING PRACTICES THAT HAVE WITHSTAND THE CHANGES OF TIMES.

 

HONOURABLE LEADERS, YOUR EXCELLENCIES, I, THEREFORE, URGE YOU ALL NOT TO ADOPT AN ACADEMIC APPROACH TO YOUR CONSIDERATION OF POTENTIAL SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE TO DEVELOPING COUNTRY SITUATIONS TO EXPAND OPPORTUNITIES AND ENSURING A SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AND ESPECIALLY ADOPTING PARTNERSHIP STRATEGIES THAT CAN WITHSTAND THE CHANGES OF TIMES AND GUARANTEES THAT FUTURE GENERATIONS BENEFITS FROM WHAT WE HAVE TODAY. I URGE THAT YOU MOVE WITH YOUR HEART BECAUSE IT IS YOUR HEART THAT WILL ENSURE SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT TODAY FOR TOMORROW.

 

YOUR EXCELLENCIES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND ATTENTION.

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