The banyan tree – or the Nabanga as we call it in Vanuatu – is a symbol of community, life, and protection. It is sacred in all our 116 dialects and cultures in Vanuatu. The largest tree species in Vanuatu, it is revered as a protective presence. Its giant canopy and root system provide shelter and protection for countless species of flora and fauna.
And for centuries, it has been a place of refuge for Vanuatu’s people throughout our islands. It is often used as a sacred meeting place – a Nakamal – where important community issues are discussed and resolved.
The branches and roots of the tree represent our connections to one another, as a community. A Nabanga is located within the village and is considered a respectful place that provides shelter, a meeting place, a dancing ground, and the center of decision-making for keeping our communities safe and going.
This is why the Nabanga lends its name to our nationwide pledge to work together to keep each other COVID-safe, protecting those who live, work, or travel in our beautiful country as we re-open our borders to international visitors and travelers.
The Nabanga Pledge
The Nabanga Pledge is not legally binding; it’s a promise we make with each other to do everything we can to prioritize safety as we reopen our country to the world. Like the branches and roots of a Nabanga, the Nabanga Pledge connects international visitors, the Vanuatu tourism industry, and Ni-Vanuatu Chiefs, people, and communities to respect and keep each other safe as we all work together to rebuild our tourism industry.
Businesses and all those who work in the tourism industry sign the pledge to promise visitors that they will follow all COVID safety guidelines in place through the guidance of the safe business operations training, while also promising local communities that they are safely supporting the recovery of Vanuatu’s economy.
The Ni-Vanuatu chiefs, people, and communities sign the pledge to promise tourism operators that they value the industry for the recovery of their country, while also promising visitors that they will be welcomed as guests and leave as friends.
Visitors sign the pledge on arrival to promise Ni-Vanuatu people and tourism operators that they are safe and will follow all health protocols during their stay and that they will be responsible visitors when in-country.
We promise to keep you safe. You promise to keep us safe. Let’s work together to protect each other from COVID. More information about the Nabanga Pledge: https://www.vanuatu.travel/en/nabanga-pledge.