Tourism numbers down 20%, due to lower cruise ship arrivals

Vanuatu visitors drop by 20% is the Daily Post headline today. The drop in numbers is attributed to cruise ship arrivals. Air arrivals were actually up in comparison to the same quarter last year and the preceding March quarter this year. The silver lining to this news is that air arrivals stay longer and spend more money.

The sale of the Café du Village lease has alarmed the business community. Government has permitted the sale of the lease to an individual for far less than it is worth, Daily Post reports. The amount is not sufficient to even cover outstanding (unpaid) land rents owing on the lease. The lease was sold for Vt 35 million in 2000, but was sold again most recently for just Vt 500,000.

A longtime advocate for customary land rights, Joel Simo, was reported on Radio Vanuatu News yesterday saying that if Ministers of government wish to sell leases to state land they must follow the proper procedures. Simo, who is standing for Graon mo Jastis Pati in the upcoming General Election, told Radio New Zealand International that Ministers should not be allowed to sell leases to state-owned land to individuals. He made the comment after it was learned that Minister for Lands Steven Kalsakau was making leases on state-owned land available for below market value to staff of the Department of Lands.

A Solomon Islands vessel, the MGY (a.k.a. LC Borcos II) has been detained by order of the Supreme Court. Detention of the barge is said to be the first step in a procedure to recover monies owing to Island Corporation in Vanuatu, because of an earlier alleged sale of the vessel, Daily Post reports today.