September 2006

The Travel Bug - Issue 19

Vanuatu showcase products, destination 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)

In Memory of Steve Irwin

People around the globe and within the tourism industry were shocked and saddened by the tragic accident which resulted in the death of Steve Irwin on the afternoon of Monday, 4 September 2006. Steve Irwin was loved and respected for his enormous passion for wildlife and his incredible contribution to tourism in Queensland and Australia. Steve’s huge, direct and generous contribution to many projects including G’Day LA 2006, which Tourism Australia recognised at the National Tourism Awards this year when he was presented with a special Akubra and plaque, will be sorely missed. To view Tourism Australia’s tribute to Steve Irwin, please click here. (Source: Tourism Australia Newsletter 07/09/2006)

Potter Breaks Kokoda Track Record (PNG)

Little known potter Brendan Buka has smashed the record as the fastest man to trek the gruelling 96 kilometre Kokoda Track in 17 hours, 49 minutes & 17 seconds. Buka, 22, from Eastern Highlands Province, slashed the previous record by 5 hours during the annual Kokoda 24 Hour Challenge on Aug 26 & 27. Buka took out the K10,000 prize money, crossing ahead of 32 year old Sydney engineer Damon Goerke. Goerke who had led for most of the race became the first Australian to finish the track in less than 24 hours coming in third in a time of 19 hours, 28 minutes & 48 seconds. The race on the wartime track made famous by Australian soldiers and their local Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels started at Owers Corner and ended at Kokoda Station. The Kokoda 24 Hour Challenge is in its second year and is organised and sponsored by PNG Trekking Ltd (www.pngbd.com). (Source: PNGTPA Monthly Newsletter Issue 26 – August 2006)

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