Vanuatu wins global award for food tourism and agrotourism

06 May 2022
Food Tourism and Agritourism Initiative team conducting product development support for the Nusemetu Agri Eco tour in Tanna in June 2021

An ACIAR-supported and Vanuatu Government-led agritourism initiative has won its first global award.

Last week, the Food Tourism and Agritourism Initiative (FTAI) was awarded an Island Innovation Award for the 'Most Transformational Government Sustainability Initiative'.

The awards, held in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative, are dedicated to recognising individuals, organisations, and projects driving positive change for remote and island communities worldwide.

The FTAI stems from the ACIAR-supported Pacific Agribusiness Research in Development Initiative Phase 2 (PARDI 2) project, where a situational analysis conducted in 2020 provided recommendations for developing agritourism experiences in Vanuatu and Fiji.

PARDI 2 agritourism advisor for Vanuatu, Dr Cherise Addinsall, said that the recommendations addressed the lack of local involvement in tourism, particularly in rural Vanuatu.

'Vanuatu's Department of Tourism created a Food Tourism and Agritourism Initiative team in 2021 led by the National Agritourism Coordinator, Ms Votausi Mackenzie-Reur, with support from a team of technical advisors,’ she said.

'The PARDI 2 project supported the establishment, strengthening, and capacity building of Agritourism Associations in Fiji and Vanuatu to provide locally-led platforms for agritourism operators to advocate and connect to Government and donors.'

'We are proud to have supported the Vanuatu Government in both policy and implementation to support food tourism and agritourism experiences,’ she added.

The establishment of the FTAI has helped connect tourists to Vanuatu's cultural food and farming heritage and locally produced value-added products.

The development of the FTAI has led to the formation of the Vanuatu Agritourism Association and the National Agritourism Committee.

'This new approach through the design of the FTAI has led to capacity building of agritourism ambassadors within the Vanuatu Agritourism Association.'

In addition to the PARDI 2 project, ACIAR has further supported the development of the FTAI through a small research activity (SRA) to develop a third party verified voluntary sustainable certification program that compensates for the non-commodity outputs of sustainable farming systems and agritourism.

'The SRA has contributed to the development of the National Agritourism Committee and supported locally developed standards for the Vanuatu Agritourism Association, including training and capacity development of a certification program for agritourism in Vanuatu,’ Dr Addinsall added.

ACIAR Research Program Manager for Agribusiness, Howard Hall, welcomed the positive outcomes from the PARDI 2 agritourism support.

'It's great to see Vanuatu receiving international recognition and leading the way in policies and programs supporting sustainable and positive change for Pacific communities, the local economy, and the environment,’ said Mr Hall.

Learn more about the PARDI 2 project and read about other ACIAR-funded agrotourism initiatives in the Pacific.