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Page: Travel Bug 9 - Late December 2005 Vanuatu travel news

The Travel Bug 9

Issue 9 - 25. December 2005

Air Vanuatu Update

Air Vanuatu is very pleased to announce the introduction of a third service Port Vila - Auckland for the 2006 New Zealand peak season. This extra service will operated from Tuesday from 06 June through to 31 October 2006.

It is displayed in the system and ready to sell. It will complement the current Wednesday and Saturday services and will address the demand experienced this year during the same period. Below are the schedule details of this new service:

Tuesday
Vila- Auckland Departs 15:40 Arrives 20:40
Auckland-Vila Departs 21:40 Arrives 23:00
Air Vanuatu looks forward to your strong support for 2006 and in particular in the New Zealand market. (Source: Vanuatu Tourism Office 09/12/2005)

AVL focuses on safety

Airports Vanuatu Limited continues to improve support services at local airports with a fire truck recently transported to Port Vila from Espiritu Santo Island for repairs and maintenance. Technicians and mechanics from Aviation Fire Services in New Zealand undertook the work to restore the truck back to 100% fire fighting capability.
  This work has now been completed and the truck has handed back to Pekoa Airfield, on Santo. The airport will no longer have to rely on the local fire truck at Luganville.
  In the longer term, AVL management will be seeking the boards approval to buy another fire appliance and replace the older fire truck which is presently located at White Grass Airport on Tanna Island. (Source: VTO update – November 2005)

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Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL) manages domestic and international airports in Vanuatu islands, including major airports in Port Vila and Luganville.

GEO Magazine coming to Vanuatu

GEO Magazine, a product with similar content and style to National Geographic magazine, is coming to Vanuatu early in the new year, following increasing interest in Vanuatu from the French and European markets.
  The magazine has 5 millions readers in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada. GEO Magazine plans to publish a journey of Vanuatu dedicated to the archipelago, its people and traditions.
  The story is expected to run from 15 to 20 pages. Florence Decamp, who is one of France's best travel writer and currently based in Sydney will be travelling to Vanuatu to file this report. (Source: VTO update – November 2005)

“60 Minutes” Fails South Pacific Cultures

60 minutes in New Zealand last week featured a story titled ‘Man in a loincloth’ by self taught cameraman Rick Williamson, who operates under the company name of Hakatrak. Rick has been trying for years to get permission from the Vanuatu Cultural Centre to film in Maewo and Espiritu Santo. Both the centre and the SANMA Province in which Espiritu Santo lies would not endorse his filming. He chose to ignore that he was not granted permission, something we believe he failed to advise 60 minutes, and came anyway. The following response was released to 60 minutes and the New Zealand Media from the Vanuatu Tourism Office.

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New Zealand's "60 Minutes" TV program has miserably failed South Pacific cultures by editing its story about Vanuatu tribal culture and placing it in a negative context.

Appalled is the only thing we can find to say about Rick Williamsons 60 minutes story, professing to be a friend of our Vanuatu highland community. It’s amazing what you can put on television when the viewing audience doesn’t know the language to translate it factually and when images and custom stories can be cut and paste to develop completely new contexts. Why is it that when the our chiefs and villagers partake of our Kava custom they are referred to as “really hammered” and “plastered on this stuff” yet when Mr. Williamson drinks, it is his “portal to the spirit world”. Could he have made any more references to “being one of them”, his own “spiritual rebirth” and how incredible he was to survive his own ordeal? If it wasn’t so completely disrespectful it would actually be funny. Whilst he may have been welcomed into the village, his vision of grandeur to become an ancestor with divine powers are laughable and if he really felt our culture was so important, why did he also feel that he had to degrade a strong cultural unit to promote his own importance.

We do have strong tribal cultures which exist from primitive times in Vanuatu, something we are extremely proud of in this world of fading borders and dissolving cultures. Unlike Mr. Williamson’s story, much of this is accessible due to the friendly and hospitable nature of our Ni Vanuatu people. Our own Vanuatu Cultural Centre based in Port Vila plays a significant role in working with our communities to ensure cultural practice and stories are maintained and documented for future generations. Perhaps it would be prudent for 60 minutes to donate the same fee paid for Mr. Williamson’s story to our Vanuatu Cultural Centre, who actually do work to support South Pacific culture. Given New Zealand’s South Pacific link and own tribal ancestry, it is hard to understand what 60 minutes was thinking in supporting this self indulgent tattle. Our South Pacific families must be cringing at the thought of 60 minutes running another cultural expose from the region. It seems Mr. Williamson craves the attention granted New Zealand’s more famous and certainly more respectable cinematographer. “Middle bush”, indeed. (Source: SPTO update – 9. December 2005)

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International Airline Passengers Association ( IAPA) has thrown its support behind international eye sight saving charity ORBIS, to prevent avoidable blindness.

ORBIS - Saving Sight Worldwide

IAPA (International Airline Passengers Association) has announced its support for international sight saving charity, ORBIS, and its work to eliminate unnecessary blindness. Using both the world's only Flying Eye Hospital and long-term country programs, ORBIS takes medical volunteers to developing countries to teach local eye doctors essential skills to treat and prevent avoidable blindness.
  The ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital is a fully converted DC-10, complete with operating theater, recovery room and state-of-the-art teaching facilities. To date, the Flying Eye Hospital has conducted programs in 68 countries, taking quality eye care training to where it is needed most. ORBIS further supports countries by providing equipment, medication, infrastructure and community eye health education.
  Of the 37 million blind people worldwide 75% don't need to be, as the skills and technology already exist to treat or prevent their blindness. Further to this 90% of the world's blind live in developing countries where barriers such as poverty stand in the way of even the most basic eye health care.
  Since it was established in 1982, ORBIS has trained over 70,000 medical professionals who have not only saved the sight of millions, but have gone on to train others, creating a ripple effect in the transfer of these greatly needed skills. The charity has also established permanent country offices in Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India and Vietnam to implement long-term sight-saving programs.
  For further information or to make a donation towards ORBIS's work please visit
 www.orbis.org.uk or call +44 (0) 20 7608 7260. (Source: IAPA E-newsletter - November 2005)

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