NZ travel reps brought to rebuild tourist numbers, but what about New Caledonia–Tanna tourists?

Tourists at Mt Yasur, Tanna

A tourist visits Yasur volcano, Tanna. Why aren’t tourism recovery efforts concentrating on getting New Caledonian tourists to Tanna? Photo: Vanuatu Tourism

New Zealand travel agents, tourism officials and travel writers have been brought to Vanuatu by the Vanuatu Tourism Office on Saturday as part of a campaign to re-enlist Vanuatu’s nearest neighbours in efforts to boost tourism again. They were expected to take note of the runway repairs in the ongoing runway renovation plan and to be impressed by Air Vanuatu’s new Boeing 737-800 aircraft. They will visit a number of new tourism sites on Efate and Santo and see the nearly-ready Iririki Island resort.

Where tourism is concerned, this writer sees a need for the present government to focus on what was essentially, I believe, an inter-airline inability to have best agreement (between Air Vanuatu and Air Calin) on tourism from Magenta, Noumea, New Caledonia to Tanna. The international airport on Tanna was opened 16 years ago for just this purpose. With the Council of Ministers (COM as it now gets called) committed to nearest neighbour tourism, Noumea is the closest to drawcard Tanna and moves must be made to offer more extensively the jungle beauty and custom magic and volcanic excitement of Tanna to the near neighbours to the south-west. The award-winning movie Tanna recently available everywhere would be a further inducement, if one were needed.

Television Blong Vanuatu is to be congratulated on starting a Sunday night session which will put DGs from ministries in front of the cameras to explain progress on the 100 Day List within their ministries. Deputy PM Natuman and his DG Marokon Allilee are also to be congratulated on last night’s 7pm half-hour talk which started off the planned regular information session. This writer regrets not having recording facilities available to answer here the many points covered and the legislation which is upcoming to deal with problem areas. The Ministry is concerned with Trades, Commerce, Tourism and Industry, so the answers provided were many and comprehensive. They range from legislation regarding intellectual custom and property ownership rights, to VCMB’s financial impoverishment. and to seeing a government bed tax gets to the government. Plus many other things.

It is to be hoped the Leader of the Opposition is watching DG Toktok henceforth. In today’s Daily Post he lists various questions he has put to government, he says, and for which he has had no answers. Kalsakau threatens a motion of no confidence. He is happy, however, with Finance Ministry dealings over Dept of Customs pay issues, but regrets the Public Service Commission has not yet put them into effect.

An important story from Vanuatu Times last week but not yet mentioned here is Unelco’s revelation of Port Vila electricity being at its lowest price in years. It is down 25% on April 2015. Higher bills for many mean more consumption, NOT a price rise.

A thousand custom dancers welcomed the large delegation of Tannese Deputy PM Joe Natuman on Saturday. Twelve tribes put aside their differences and performed a custom pig-killing ceremony. They are committed to unite for development.