Innovative works in Vanuatu: tourism and cultural industries

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Dick, T, Farr-Wharton, B & Brown, K 2011, 'Innovative works in Vanuatu: tourism and cultural industries', proceedings of the 7th International Small Islands Conference, Arlie Beach, Qld., 12-15 June, SICRI.

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This paper examines Fest’Napuan, Vanuatu’s annual culture and music festival, to understand the festival’s contribution to the cultural development of Vanuatu. Since 1996 Fest’Napuan has provided a forum that supports the performance of contemporary and traditional music and dance. The festival and its organising association have spearheaded projects and innovative partnerships that have led to the advantageous export of ni-Vanuatu music and cultural performance. Tourism firms operating in the region are developing innovative relationships with Fest’Napuan, with both the organisers, and with the individual performers directly. These networks are clusters of intense cultural negotiation as external forces interact with traditional norms thus fomenting tensions around authenticity, sensitivity, Indigeneity, and artistic value. In this paper we argue that musical production in Vanuatu should be viewed as a ‘natural competitive advantage’ for both the cultural performers and tourism operators. However, in order to exploit this natural advantage, diverse and selected actors need to deploy particular combinations of relational and social resources to achieve collective gain. Innovative, strategic collaborations are contended to increase awareness of these regions and promote their cultural diversity at the same time as developing a tourism brand.