Vanuatu plans massive aviation, tourism initiatives


Vanuatu is embarking on an ambitious US$350 million plan to scale up its airports and aviation infrastructure around the country, while also beefing up its tourism and hospitality sector, according to plans announced last week.<!--more-->

A Singapore based company named Vanuatu Trade Development will build, operate and transfer the airports development to the government over a time window of 50 years. Government of Vanuatu is underwriting the entire project through a promissory note.

[caption id="attachment_5187" align="alignright" width="314"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-5187" alt="An Air Vanuatu Boeing at Port Vila’s Bauerfield Airport. Photo: Dev Nadkarni" src="" width="314" height="209" /></a> An Air Vanuatu Boeing at Port Vila’s Bauerfield Airport. Photo: Dev Nadkarni[/caption]

The Vanuatu Government and the Singaporean company have already signed a memorandum of understanding for expansion of the country’s gateway Bauerfield Airport in capital Port Vila on Efate Island with a new terminal building.

The MOU also covers the development of airports on Tanna, Malekula, Santo and possibly Pentecost, globally famous for bungee jumping rituals of the indigenous people.

Vanuatu Trade Development has also expressed the desire to also build and operate hotels and resorts – one of them with a casino.

Edward Natapei, Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister, told media last week that country was missing out on Asian tourists and this massive investment was to attract growing Asian tourism.

“They have to either travel to Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia or Fiji, so we are missing out on the [Asian] tourists. The plan is to target the Asian tourists and to do that we would have to relocate the airport to another site and hope that we can bring in larger aircraft, wide bodied aircraft direct from the Asian countries,” Mr Natapei told Radio New Zealand International.