Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2015 12:00 am

The New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, has announced a $26 million package, aimed at helping the tourism sector in Vanuatu recover following Cyclone Pam.

“Tourism accounts for 20 per cent of the Vanuatu economy and employs 26 per cent of the labour force. Getting the tourism sector back up and running is vital to Vanuatu’s long-term recovery from Cyclone Pam,” said McCully .

“The funding announced today is split into two distinct parts. A $10 million package which will help restore confidence in Vanuatu as a tourist destination and a $16 million programme of infrastructure redevelopment, focused on the waterfront and cruise ship precinct in Port Vila.

“The tourism component will focus on increasing tourism income and employment opportunities through an international marketing campaign, raising standards, and developing new tourism products and services.

“Our support for the redevelopment of the waterfront will greatly improve the cruise ship visitor experience and better connect the cruise ship precinct with local tourism operators and markets.

“This investment will also help ensure these vital facilities are able to cope with growing arrival numbers and are more resilient to future storms and extreme weather events.

“This recovery package is in addition to the $5 million in funding for humanitarian and early recovery work provided by New Zealand in the three and a half months since the cyclone hit.

“ It will also be supplemented with other support in areas such as education, water and sanitation once Vanuatu presents its overall recovery plan,” Mr McCully says.