Department of Tourism Launches Tourism Business Support Program

Front Row: Laurana R Tokataake (DoT Project Manager), Geraldine Tari (DoT Principal Accreditation Officer), Linda Sam (DoT Principal Product Development Office)

As part of its Tourism Crisis Response and Recovery Program the Department of Tourism (DoT) has launched the Tourism Business Support Program (TBSP).

The Director of Tourism, Mr. Jerry Spooner, welcomed the new National Coordinator of the TBSP, Ms. Carissa Jacobe, who will join the current DoT Management team and explained “the TBSP is based on a needs analysis from a number of recent business surveys and stakeholder consultations and has two main objectives.

1. To financially support and assist tourism businesses to survive the impacts of the COVID crises and to have them ready to receive tourists when international borders are open again.

2. To encourage tourism businesses to follow the principles of sustainable and responsible tourism, including product diversification, increased local benefits, safe business operations, energy efficiency, waste management and water conservation.”

Under the TBSP financial assistance will be available to eligible and approved tourism businesses under three categories:

• Tourism Business Survival Grants: for costs associated with cleaning, maintenance, gardening, security, safety and utility bills.

• Renewable Energy Subsidy Scheme: assistance for audit checks and appliance purchasing through the National Green Energy Fund.

• Agritourism Support Program: assistance for selected projects who have integrated the tourism and agriculture sectors into their products.

Application forms are available on the DoT website and can be filled out and submitted on-line. The TBSP Management team will be available both at the DoT head office in Port Vila and through the DoT Provincial Offices to assist business operators with questions about the application forms.

DoT will work with the Tourism Associations to conduct awareness workshops in each Province to assist with the application process.

DoT has established an Advisory Committee who will oversee the program, approve applications and manage the distribution of funds based on the selection and assessment criteria.