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FRESH FACES: Vanuatu Tourism’s Paul Pio


As Short Haul Markets Manager for the Vanuatu Tourism Office, Paul Pio will be responsible for managing and developing the brand positioning of Vanuatu as a tourism destination in Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.

 

Paul is a veteran of Vanuatu’s tourism industry, previously working as Marketing and Communications Manager of Air Vanuatu. Most recently, he has been Secretary of the Vanuatu Tamtam Bubble Taskforce under the leadership of the Vanuatu Prime Minister’s Office and committee member of the Vanuatu Government’s Tourism Crisis Response and Recovery Advisory Committee under the Ministry of Tourism, which he will continue in this role.

 

Vanuatu Tourism Office’s Chief Executive Officer, Adela Issachar Aru, said Mr Pio's appointment comes at an integral time for Vanuatu’s travel industry and his knowledge, experience and leadership skills add invaluable expertise to VTO’s existing management team.

 

“Paul is passionate about delivering tangible results to Vanuatu and he has a commitment to a strong collaborative approach, that will play a key role in our tourism sector recovery,” Aru said.  

 

“Paul has established relationships with our industry and in-market stakeholders, allowing him to hit the ground running and focus on the priority of developing marketing strategies for when our borders are able to safely re-open.

 

“Aviation access will underpin our recovery success and Paul’s expertise in this area will add immense value to the team.”

 

Paul Pio on top of Yasur Volcano on the Island of Tanna.

 

Starting a new job in the middle of a global pandemic can be an interesting proposition. Here, we chat with Paul about his career, the value of relationships and if he’s an aisle or window man. 


What was your first ever job and what lessons did you take from it?

My first ever job, was actually with Air Vanuatu. I started as the Procurement and Public Relations Officer and later became the airline’s Marketing & Communications Manager. The job allowed me the opportunity to work with various tourism operators in Vanuatu and abroad, especially in Australia. I quickly learned to be on-top of different arising issues, having to problem solve extremely quickly. Air Vanuatu catered for over 70% of international flights to Vanuatu, so it was important to keep the airline and the destination tourism marketing aligned. It wasn’t easy, but I got to appreciate working in this space.

 

What’s the first thing you do when you start a new position?

I like to engage with the employees. One of the first things I do is have one-on-one discussions with different members of the team, preferably outside of the office to create a more relaxed and open setting. 

 

What has the pandemic taught you about yourself and the tourism industry?

Resilience and perseverance. Vanuatu is not new to crisis, though this is a health crisis. Over the last 10 years, the country and the tourism industry have suffered setbacks from natural disasters to infrastructural deficiencies, and we have rebuilt from each of one of them. I think that’s what makes us who we are today - we keep it moving!

 

Aisle or window seat and why?

Oh, I always choose window seat (and an empty seat next to me ???? if possible), so I can look at the aircraft engine, the wings movement, the flow of wind against the tip of the wing and appreciate the view of the places we fly over. I always make sure to check on the cabin crew during the inflight service too.

 

Where are you most looking forward to travel once borders open?

I look forward to visiting our markets (Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia) and seeing our tourism marketing recovery activities in motion! I can’t wait to reconnect with our trade partners and get to know them in person.

 

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Published: 15 September 2021

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