Tourism gets big promotional push in Australia and NZ markets; Vanuatu to graduate from least-developed status by 2020

An promotional image from Vanuatu Tourism Office, aprt of the Australia & NZ marketing push

An promotional image from Vanuatu Tourism Office, part of the Australia & NZ marketing push

Tourism is high in the headlines again. Vanuatu Tourism Office has launched an intensive, seven-week marketing campaign aimed at the lucrative Australia and New Zealand markets in what is said to be the most ambitious marketing launch since Independence. Australia and New Zealand have contributed Vt 110 million, the Vanuatu Government is giving Vt 70 million and the private sector Vt 7 million. The marketing project was launched at Chantillys yesterday. (Daily Post)

Deputy PM Joe Natuman has been attending the first world conference on Tourism for Development in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. Natuman, who is also responsible for tourism, encouraged investments in tourism and infrastructure, emphasising that Vanuatu has twice been named the the happiest place on Earth. He also highlighted Vanuatu’s resilience to climate change and natural hazards such as cyclones. He pointed out how countries like China assist Vanuatu to rebuild. After Tropical Cyclone Pam “we are now open for business again”, he told those attending the conference. The Minister underscored tourism’s role for development in Vanuatu with the statistic of our last year receiving 360,000 tourists for our total population of 285,000. “Some tourists visit again and some even return to invest and live in Vanuatu,” he noted. Natuman had another interesting statistic for his audience: tourism contributes close to 11% of the world’s GDP. However, in Vanuatu it is close to 40% of our GDP. (Daily Post)

Vanuatu is taking part in a high level United Nations review meeting about action plans for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The meeting discussed concern such countries’ agreed Millennium Development Goals. There are 48 countries categorised as LDCs, but since the list was established in 1971, only four countries have actually graduated out of the class. Vanuatu must now graduate from LDC status by 2020. The meeting is being held in Antalya, Turkey. (Radio Vanuatu and Daily Post)

Sunday was the first day of the new Wharf Traffic Management Plan for cruise ship visitors to Port Vila. Minister Natuman thanked bus and taxi drivers for their cooperation with the new arrangements. Market mamas declared themselves pleased with the first day of the new arrangements. (Daily Post)

As well as introducing a ban on mobile telephone use by drivers, another change to the road traffic laws proposed by the Minister of Public Works is to introduce breathalysers. Minister Jotham Napat also hopes that by next year it will have been possible to tighten road worthiness certification. He says there are too many vehicles which should not be continuing in service. (Radio Vanuatu)

Long-serving French Catholic priest Père Renée Durumain has died in New Caledonia at the age of 82. Bishop Barames said there is to be a mass on Friday at the cathedral where his body will remain until Saturday morning. It will then be flown to Pentecost for burial where Père Durumain was admired and loved by his congregations at Melsisi and East Pentecost. (Radio Vanuatu)