October 2006

The Travel Bug - Issue 20

Vanuatu Showcase in Neighbouring Noumea

Over a dozen Vanuatu business stakeholders have showcased their products, services and more generally their destination in New Caledonia's capital Nouméa at the weekend. The three-day showcase, which was generally well-received, involved Vanuatu manufacturers, the national tourism office. It was also perceived as an opportunity for Vanuatu authorities to promote themselves as an attractive investment destination, capitalising on its "tax haven" status.

An estimated three thousand visitors from the general public and local business leaders came to the trade fair. But Vanuatu business community also expressed frustration at what it still regards as a major stumbling block to any business expansion in New Caledonia: the local import duties, which they believe remain very high, sometimes topping the 45 per cent mark-up. Vanuatu manufacturers are currently capitalising on the global "fair trade" movement to get their products duty exempt exported into the French Pacific territory, local daily Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The Vanuatu Trade Show was jointly organised by the Nouméa and Port Vila chambers of commerce, New Caledonia's Economic Development Promotion Agency (ADECAL), Vanuatu's Tourism Office and also received financial support from the European Union. It is expected to become an annual event, as part of growing relations between New Caledonia and the former French-British condominium of the New Hebrides, which became independent Vanuatu in 1980. Vanuatu is also, some 500 kilometres Northeast, New Caledonia's closest neighbour. (Source: Oceania Flash 12/09/2006)

Workshops on Tourism Strategies and Tourism Investment

National workshops on Tourism Strategies and Tourism Investment were conducted by Professor Simon Milne in five SPTO member countries throughout the month of September. The workshops aimed at building capacity at a national level, in the areas of Tourism Planning and strategy development and Tourism Investment, were well attended by Government officials and Private sector participants. The workshops conducted in Kiribati, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa received a participation of over 100 attendees in total. The final in-country workshop on Tourism Investment will be held in Tonga on the 27th of October 2006.

Ms Helen Po’uliva’ati, SPTOs Project Coordinator attended the workshops held in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. Ms Po’uliva’ati said “the workshops were well received by the participants who all gained a better understanding and greater knowledge of the pertinent issues in addition to the web based tools available to support and assist in the implementation of strategies and investment activities”. Two regional workshops on Tourism Strategies and Tourism Investment will take place later this month in Nadi, Fiji. These activities are being funded by the EU under the Regional Economic Integration Programme of the 9th EDF.

Air Pacific Ready for Regional Run

Air Pacific is hopeful about beginning its regional service under its subsidiary, Pacific Sun, by the end of this month. Pacific Sun chief executive officer, Manoa Kamikamica said work had been completed on Pacific Sun's first aircraft an ATR42-500 purchased from Air Mauritius for about $9million. He said the airline was awaiting approval from the governments of Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Tonga. Mr Kamikamica said the company was already in the process of recruiting pilots and flight attendants for the new service. He said they were currently looking to hire pilots from Mount Cook Airlines in New Zealand to start off the service before locals were recruited.

He said they were also awaiting the arrival of another aircraft in December to complement the services of their first aircraft. "We received this aircraft and have completed modifications to suit the needs of customers in the Pacific Region," he said. "We are also waiting for the other aircraft that is due to arrive in December before the service is fully operational. "Pacific Sun hopes to fly twice to each of these three countries weekly,"he said. Mr Kamikamica said they believed that once introduced, the ATR42-500 aircrafts would provide a regular service that would eventually stimulate the Pacific market. He said the two new aircrafts would also be used to service domestic flights once the company had the approval of local authorities. (Source: Fiji Times 03/10/2006)

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