Vanuatu Tourism is reporting a record year for tourism arrivals in 2012.

The year ended with a 15% increase in visitor arrivals to 108,161 visitors compared to 93,960 in 2011. The 2012 bumper year of arrivals is the best year on record exceeding the 2009 previous record year by an increase of over 7,000 visitors.

Cruising has also taken a dramatic boom in Vanuatu in 2012, with more ships including the islands on its itineraries, leading to a 41% increase in passenger arrivals. 2012 saw a staggering 218,667 passenger arrivals compared to 147,938 in 2011.

Australia continues to be Vanuatu’s number one source market for visitor arrivals, with 61% of the market share. New Zealand and New Caledonia are also primary source markets with 13% and 12% of market share respectively. Other source markets include Europe, USA and Japan.

In line with Vanuatu’s record breaking year, the destination proved popular with Australian tourists in 2012 with Aussie visitor numbers seeing a 9.6% increase with 64,900 visitors by air compared to 59,200 visitors in 2011.

Linda Kalpoi, General Manager at Vanuatu Tourism Office is delighted with the record breaking year for tourism and is excited to see the key source markets continue to grow, and emerging markets also growing.

“Our target in 2012 was to grow visitor arrivals by 10% and we are so pleased that our expectations have been succeeded,” she said. “The VTO and tourism industry in Vanuatu has worked hard to grow these numbers to reach this record breaking level and we thank the support that our wholesale partners have shown to help drive bookings.

“Our strategy for 2013 will capitalise on the work and partnerships we have created over the last few years and grow visitor arrivals by a further 10%, as well as concentrate on growing the outer island visitation, which includes the islands of Tanna and Espiritu Santo.

“Our marketing efforts will concentrate on our major markets of Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia and also support to build the secondary markets of Europe, USA and some Asian countries.

“Our overall aim is to ensure that Vanuatu remains in prime position as one of the top South-Pacific island destinations for tourism.”