(concept stage)

Using yachting tourism to create social improvements, economic betterment and environmental upgrading

Wicked Horizon is working on a project initiation document to prepare a unified tourism development strategy, combining tourism, marine environment protection and community betterment in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu, like many other countries, has to rebuild its tourism after recovering from the global Covid-19 pandemic. For this, the country has chosen to embrace a multi-faceted methodology, seeking to achieve social, economic and environmental sustainability. The country has joined forces with Planet Happiness to adopt a well-being approach to Covid-19 resilience and recovery. We very much support this vision and we would like to contribute to achieving this. We have visited Vanuatu several times over the last ten years and some of us have stayed for extended periods for a community teaching project. Sailing to several of these islands gave us a unique insight into the livelihoods of islanders.

There are several fields/sectors where yachting tourism can have a positive impact, namely:

(a) Environment: there are few anchorages and marinas on the islands, so that when yachts drop anchor they often impact corals and seagrass beds;

(b) Logistics: some islands are rarely visited by cargo boats and the inhabitants have infrequent supplies of necessities and cannot easily sell their produce;

(c) Economics: there are few economic prospects for the inhabitants of remote islands and it is imperative that new sustainable sectors of the economy are opened up.

Vanuatu offers a great variety of ocean and land-based, rural tourism products. Some island communities can only be reached by boat, making yachting an interesting and potentially rewarding experience. Having identified the above issues, paired with our professional knowledge as tourism planners, teachers, geologists and engineers, we have put together a project formulation paper to seek funding for an action plan that strives to foster community development, protect the marine environment and develop sustainable yachting tourism.

The project is scheduled to begin in 2022 and will comprise several months of work. The presence of our yacht, S/Y Nora Simrad, in the area is seen as essential for the work, not least to access the many remote islands and communities and to find ideal places for anchorages.