Ready for business after repairs
VANUATU is back on line after two major disasters – Category Five Cyclone Pam in 2015 and the closure of the runway at its international airport early this year. Cyclone Pam took out the hugely popular Iririki Island Resort and the Holiday Inn as well as destroying infrastructure and smaller hotels. Coupled with the refusal of Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand to fly into Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila, due to poor runway conditions, visitor arrivals fell to 80,000 – the lowest level since 2003.
With repairs to Iririki completed and the Holiday Inn Port Vila to come on line this month, Vanuatu Tourism CEO Linda Kalpoi is confident of a dramatic resurgence. “We’re looking at a 10 per cent increase in visitor numbers this year,” Kalpoi said at the South Pacific Tourism Exchange on Australia’s Gold Coast.
“Support for us here at the SPTE has been great – our buyers have been really understanding of the situation and they are enthusiastic about the products we have to offer “This is definitely good news for us.” The Bank South Pacific-sponsored event drew around 60 global buyers and 150 regional sellers over two days at Sea World Resort.
“I’m very confident that our numbers can come back up to 110,000 a year very quickly. We’re working hard with a number of partners and Vanuatu will capitalise on a number of projects around the region.” One of those projects is Fiji Airways’ direct services to Singapore.
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