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Page: Travel Bug 7 - Late November 2005 Vanuatu travel news

The Travel Bug 7

Issue 7 - 25. November 2005

P&O Announces Growth in 2006 Vanuatu Visits

Consistent with the growing demand for Vanuatu experiences, P&O have announced 55 visits to Port Vila in 2006 by its Pacific fleet which include Princess, Star and Sun. Vanuatu continues to be rated as the most sought after cruising experiences in surveys being conducted by the Shipping company of its passengers.

In addition to the visits to Port Vila, many of the ships also visit Luganville, the capital of Espiritu Santo, Mystery Island and other stops through the northern islands such as Pentecost. This growth is expected to continue in the coming years with Ship visits providing a consistent mode of access to many of the more remote outer island experiences. (Source: The Tribal Drum October 2005)

ACP – EU Tourism Partnership Signed

Tourism is one major sector the African, Carribian and Pacific group of nations and the European Union have agreed on when cutting down on the number of sectors destined for aid from seven to four to save costs, says Fiji's Kaliopate Tavola on Thursday. Mr Tavola, who is the leader of the ACP negotiating team, said the EU had even signed a tourism partnership agreement with the ACP. "On Tourism we have progressed in this area. In tourism we have agreed for a Tourism Partnership Agreement. "We're basically looking at the text of that possible agreement, whether it's going to be a stand alone or part of a Services Agreement is something we have to discuss further but we have agreed with the framework of the Tourism Partnership Agreement," he said.

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The European Union (EU) has signed a Tourism Partnership Agreement with African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations, in order to save on administrative costs.

Apart from this, Mr Tavola said an agreement had also been reached with the EU in the fisheries and investment sectors. The ACP-EU framework for the Fisheries Partnership Agreement have been formulated. Mr Tavola said agreement on a framework of an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement would be more than just the ordinary investment agreement. "Developmental issues will be factored in that's why it has been a plus. We have agreed on the architecture even though there has been some questions asked by the EU on this matter." Mr Tavola said there was concern that they may be lagging a bit but in comparison with the pace of negotiations with other countries, the Pacific is not too bad. "So the pace is not too bad compared to those seen in other regions; but we're going to step up the pace in 2006 and of course aim to conclude in 2007." He revealed that they are now in the process of discussing some major issues in fisheries, tourism and investment. (Source: Fiji Times 29/10/2005)

Pacific Blue Touches Down in Tonga

As the police band played to welcome disembarking passengers, not even the rain could dampen the enthusiasm of all present at Fua’amotu Airport for the arrival of Pacific Blue to Tonga on Monday 31st October 2005. A charity auction held onboard the inaugural flight raised approximately $750 and was donated by Pacific Blue to Tonga’s Girl Guides Association. The girls performed a number of dances in return, as part of the celebrations at the airport. The airline’s arrival was celebrated by His Majesty, King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, Acting Prime Minister, Acting Minister of Civil Aviation and Minister of Tourism, Hon James Cecil Cocker, Pacific Blue Chief Executive Officer Tony Marks, and other Pacific Blue representatives and distinguished members of the Tongan Tourism Industry. In his welcoming speech, Hon James Cecil Cocker said the arrival of Pacific Blue was a jubilant occasion. He said “This has been a dream of the Tourism and Travel Industry for a very long time. The Tongan people… have long yearned for a carrier that will provide affordable fares to see their loved ones in Tonga, Sydney and Auckland. On their behalf, I thank and congratulate Virgin Blue and Pacific Blue for a very thoughtful and remarkable reform in the travel industry.”

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The aviation industry is constantly on the lookout for new air-connection opportunities, as well as industry consolidations.

Tony Marks, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Blue, promised that the new low cost carrier would deliver through its high service standards and committed staff, an increase of visitors to Tonga over the coming year. At a later press conference and cocktail reception held by Pacific Blue at the International Dateline Hotel, he commented on a ‘coincidental’ thirty percent drop in fares by competitor Air New Zealand. Tony Marks said “we are totally convinced that Tonga will benefit enormously from fares going down and frequency going up because competition always has magic economic effects.” He added that he had no doubt Pacific Blue’s arrival to Tonga would be a great commercial success for all involved. (Source: Tonga Visitors Bureau News 01/11/2005)

Qantas Walks Away from Singapore Deal

In the midst of an extremely busy time for Australia’s National Carrier, Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon has conceded that any possible merger with Singapore Airlines was probably now off the agenda. With the recently announced major cost cutting exercise underway including possible outsourcing of maintenance contracts, the expansion of Jetstar to international services and $20 billion of aircraft acquisition on the way, Dixon asserted that QF probably had enough on its plate right now. "In the next six months, those three issues alone are just monumental for the future of Qantas, they really are," Mr Dixon said. "If we start Jetstar International, it won't be just some little add-on to anything," Mr Dixon said. "It will be a full-blooded and fully operational airline; it will have no constraints on it." On the subject of the mooted Singapore alliance, Dixon stated that he felt the time for a merger had just passed, although he still believes that Qantas should pursue a potential airline partner. "We believe that because we are the end of the line carrier it would be best if we get a tie-up, whether it's an equity tie-up or a very close relationship. And I just think it will happen," he said. (Source: Travel Mole News 31/10/2005)

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