General contacts: For general matters relating to the conference, contact the Conference Organising Committee on:
Ms Roshni Hurdowar (conference organiser) firstname.lastname@example.org +678 5484886
Promedical community ambulance: 115
Northern Provincial Hospital in Luganville +678 36345
On arrival: If arriving by air and after clearing Immigration and Customs at the airport in Port Vila or Santo, look for the Welkam to the Sustainable Islands Tourism Conference sign in the arrival hall and we’ll have transport to take you to your accommodation. For those travelling to Santo on a domestic flight from Vila, there will also be a Welkam sign. (If you arrive by another method late, please make your way to your accommodation or conference venue as appropriate).
Conference Venue: The Conference will be conducted at Champagne Beach, East Santo which is approximately 45mins drive from Luganville.
Transfers between Accommodation and Conference Venues: Minivans have been arranged to take you from your accommodation to the conference venue and afternoon eco-tour activities and return to your accommodation. We request participants be on time at the designated pickup/drop-off locations and that you prepare for the day or evening activities in advance. This will help us keep the program on schedule.
Language: English language will be used throughout the formal conference sessions. When talking with local people you will find that while many speak good English, Bislama is the preferred dialect. Some Ni-Vanuatu speak quietly compared with people from other language groups; they can also have an infectious laugh and sing beautifully – be prepared for friendly smiles and to smile in return.
Currency: The local currency used in Vanuatu is called ‘Vatu’ and is available from ATMs, banks, local exchange dealers and some hotels. Rates will vary as will international transaction fees, the latter which can be expensive. Notes come in 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, and 200 Vatu denominations, and coins in 100, 50, 20 and 10 vatu denominations. You are advised to carry and use cash rather than credit card facilities that are not typically available or used.
Local Transport: The local transport consists of minivans that seat up to 10 people to varying levels of comfort, and private taxis. Minivans are the cheapest transport and will cost 150 vatu per person door to door, so have low denomination currency available; nothing more than 500 or preferably 200 vatu. Tell the driver: “Halo, mi wantum wantem go lo …” add the name of your location and pay the money when you arrive. You can say: “yu stop lo ples ia plis” to ask the driver to stop, and don’t forget to add: “tankiu tumas” as a way of saying thank you.
Telephone: If you want to buy an in-country mobile sim and use a local number, you can buy a TVL or Digicel sim at the airport in Luganville and other advertised locations. Be aware that local costs are quite expensive compared to other countries and that the 7 digit Vanuatu mobile number may not be recognised by other country telecoms; e.g., in the case of sending bank or other SMS codes.
Internet Connectivity: The internet connection in Vanuatu is not strong compared to other international destinations and can vary considerably depending on your location in the country. While it is possible to get a reasonable signal be prepared for no connection or drop outs on some popular social media apps.
Power Supply: Vanuatu runs on a 240V power supply using a three pin Australian/New Zealand plug. The power supply is considered stable but may shut down due to system outages.
Water Safety: The water at the conference venue, accommodation, and activity tour locations is considered ‘potable’ and safe to drink. However, if you are concerned, consider drinking bottled water or boiling water if this facility is available to you. Don’t forget to keep yourself well hydrated during the conference and take water with you on activity tours.
Food safety: The quality of food services in Vanuatu is generally safe. And by all means, enjoy the local restaurants and cafes although be prepared to pay a little more than comparable destinations due to higher costs. Some food services, however, may not accord with practices in other regions of the world. It is advisable therefore to practice good sanitation practices while visiting Vanuatu such as hand washing before eating and drinking. If you have specific dietary needs please contact the organising committee; although please note our limited resources mean we may not be able to cater to all needs.
First aid: The conference venues, accommodation and activity sites should have a first aid kit for minor accidents and injuries. Perhaps bring your own supply of a few bandaids, antiseptic cream, anti-diarrhoea and rehydration medications, and analgesics. Be careful of minor cuts and scratches as they can infect easily in the tropical conditions.
Medical aid: For more extensive assistance contact the Northern Provincial Hospital in Luganville on +678 36345 or for emergencies call Promedical on +678 25566. Please follow your doctor’s medical instructions in regard to personal medications and other health care matters. Malaria and other mosquito borne diseases are present, but are less likely to occur in the conference location.
Petty Crime: While the Ni-Vanuatu are renowned for their friendliness and Vanuatu is generally considered a safe destination, minor ‘opportunistic’ crimes may occur. The best way to reduce such occurrences is to maintain a state of mindfulness about your personal situation and possessions; e.g., don’t make yourself a target by ensuring the security of money, phones, laptops and the like.
Disaster Preparedness: Vanuatu is prone to cyclones, earth quakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. In the unlikely event of such disasters, it is recommended you follow the advice of conference organisers or local staff in regard to warnings and appropriate actions.
Weather: The temperatures in Santo during the conference are likely to vary around 20C (minimum) and 30C (maximum). Expect warm to hot conditions and cloudy to sunny days, with high humidity and the potential for cooler temperatures during showers or rain. Dress appropriately in loose fitting clothes and solid sandals, and perhaps use the opportunity to show off those colourful dresses and shirts – you’ll look and feel part of the magic that is Vanuatu.