Vanuatu Country Profile (Country Profiles)

This article contains general information about the people, history, economy and environment of Vanuatu.
A Vanutian woman standing on the beach


Vanuatu is a country island in the South Pacific Ocean. The capital, Port Vila, is also its largest city and center of tourist attractions.

Vanuatuan People

Vanuatu has great diversity in culture with major religions including Christianity, folk religions and other minorities.

Vanuatu is approximately 12,200 sq km (4,710 sq mi). It is comprised of mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin, and narrow coastal plains.

History of Vanuatu

Vanuatu has been a habitat for Human beings long before it was known to the outside world. In April 1606 CE it was discovered by the portuguese explorer Pedro Fernandes de Queirós.

Europeans came and settled down but soon went back due to their bad relationship with natives of Vanuatu.

Nobody came to Vanuatu again until the 1880s when France and the United Kingdom came to the archipelago. They formed a joint government as New Hebrides and Anglo-french Condominium. It was a unique kind of government that was ever formed in history.

Since then many improvements were seen in the fields of industrialization, education, health and economy.

Later an independence movement was started in 1970 that led to formation of an independent state "Republic of Vanuatu" in 1980. But it was not the end of development in Vanuatu, it has made great progress since then.


The national currency of Vanuatu is Vanuatu Vatu (VUV) and it was first introduced in 1981.

Vanuatu holds great tourist attractions. The center of tourism in this country is Port Vila, which has many standard services hotels. It's dense jungles, caves and volcano sites provide a great site for adventure. Tourism plays a major role in the economy of Vanuatu.

After tourism, wholesale services, trade and real estate play the second major role in the economy of Vanuatu. To develop tax strategies for offshore banks, trust companies and shipping companies it has a company named "Offshore financial company".

The retail trade services used to be limited in Vanuatu. There were only small and medium sized shops in Port Vila and the rest of the country had only small sized shops. But in recent years the trade system has improved a lot. Average trade of LCDs (liquid crystal displays), which is one of the most successful trades done in the past, is 30% but Vanuatu's trade is far above this value i.e 567%. This shows the success of Vanuatu's trade system.


Vanuatu elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The Parliament or Parlement has 52 members, elected for a four-year term in multi-seat constituencies.

The president is elected for a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of members of Parliament and the presidents of Regional Councils.

Vanuatu has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.

The Vanuatu government invests heavily in social services every year. Major part of these investments are made in education. According to a recent report 20% of the budget is invested in education every year.

The literacy rate of Vanuatu was 53% in 1999 but recent records show that it has increased to 87.5% in 2021. This increase in literacy rate shows the progress made in education in this country over the past few years.

Another major part of the budget is invested in health. About 4.2% of the budget of Vanuatu is used for health services. A decline in the death rates has been observed in the past few decades, which is an indication of improvement in the health department.

There is no public transportation system in Vanuatu, however private buses are available.

Moving outside the country or to come in the country has become a lot easier since air connections and cruise ship facilities have been developed.

LGBTQ+ rainbow flag Quasar 'Progress' variant LGBTIQ Rights and Safety

Vanuatu is currently ranked 111 out of 202 on the Gay Travel Index (2020). The index measures the legal situation and living conditions for members of the queer community in the respective country. Countries score negatively where human rights are not observed, guaranteed or are violated.

LGBTIQ positive and anti-discrimination legislations are absent in Vanuatu, notably: Marriage & Civil Partnerships, Transgender Rights, Intersex / 3rd Option, and “Conversion Therapy”.

Futher negative factors in this index include Religious Influence, HIV Travel Restrictions, and Hostile Locals.

Emergency Services

Learn more about all the important community, government and emergency services here: Vanuatuan Emergency Services.


  1. Photography by Dan McGarry (
  2. Explore Vanuatu (
  3. Vanuatu in detail (
  4. Health in Vanuatu (
  5. Map of Vanuatu (
  6. List of U.S. states and territories by area (
  7. List of countries by literacy rate (
  8. The World Factbook - Literacy (
  9. International Financial Services: Offshore Financial Companies & Licences (
  10. Live USD to VUV Exchange Rates (
  11. Vanuatu Vatu (VUV) (
  12. Flights to port Vila (
  13. Quarterly Expenditure Reports (
  14. Quarterly Expenditure Reports (
  15. Vanuatuan Emergency Services (

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