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Page: June 2005 Vanuatu news - Espiritu Santo Aore Swim - Volcano Post Box

The Travel Bug 1

Issue 1 - June 2005

Hot-mail at Volcano Post Box in Vanuatu

Well, you've heard of Vanuatu's underwater post-office, where divers can dip in and mail a letter. Now, Vanuatu Post is going to the other extreme, by placing a mailbox on the slopes of Mt. Yasur, an active volcano. The volcano post box, known affectionately as 'hot mail', is the second in a series of "extreme" post boxes to be launched by Vanuatu Post. Thousands of people have already visited the underwater post-office, and Vanuatu Post is hoping the volcano post box proves as much of a drawcard. (Source: SPTO & Pacific Beat News 20/05/2005)

New Swim Events at Santo and Iririki islands

The Inaugural Espiritu Santo Aore Swim will take place on Tuesday 28th June 2005, with participants swimming from Luganville's Unity Park on Espiritu Santo to the beach at Aore Island Resort, a distance of over 3 kilometres.

Ocean Swims are becoming very popular around the world and this new Espiritu Santo Swim comes on the back of the successful Vanuatu Ocean Swim in Port Vila, the fourth edition of which is being held on Saturday 25th June, where around 170 swimmers will hit the water for the 3.2 Km from the famous Rossi Restaurant around Iririki Island and back to the Rossi.

The Espiritu Santo Aore Swim will become a world class event, a rewarding challenge and achievement for all participants and has already attracted a few overseas swimmers who have extended their trip to the Vanuatu Swim on to Santo, to experience the Swim and the many tours, dive options, adventure and cultural activities available on Vanuatu's Big Island. The swim is also likely to attract some of the large group of local swimmers to be seen practicing almost daily in Port Vila and Espiritu Santo.

Vanuatu's annual ocean swims are becoming international events, as they attract more participants, including overseas entrants.

This inaugural Espiritu Santo Aore event is expected to attract around 20 overseas and local participants and organizers are expecting significant growth over the next few years with swimmers taking in the Vanuatu Ocean Swim and then extending their trip to participate in the Espiritu Santo event. The swim across the channel will be a major sporting event for Espiritu Santo and all swimmers with the ability and condition to make the distance are welcome.

The major prize, courtesy of Air Vanuatu is a return ticket Vila- Santo. There is also a prize for the first Ni Vanuatu finisher, trophies for top age group finishers and spot prizes. The event is organized by South Pacific Sports Promotions and the Santo Tourism Association in conjunction with the Vanuatu Tourism Office and with great support from local business groups in Santo.

Race Start is 10.00 am on Tuesday 28th June at Unity Park. Swimmers will be required to pre register and attend final Race Check-In and Briefing from 9am on 28th at Unity Park. Entry Forms will be available shortly for further details contact the VTO (678) 22685, or Paul McCoy on 53558. (Source: SPTO & South Pacific Sports Promotions Press Release 25/05/2005)

Asian Destinations on the Rise in World Tourism Ranking

The latest data on international tourist arrivals to the various destinations in the world collected by the World Tourism Organization showed significant changes in the table of the world's top tourism destinations in 2004. As a result of the strong rebound experienced last year, Asian destinations significantly strengthened their position in the ranking.

France remains unchallenged leader in world tourism ranking, as the world's top tourism destination in 2004.

Although the order of the three main world tourism destinations remained unchanged with France as unchallenged leader, major developments in 2004 included China taking over Italy's traditional position as the world's fourth most visited destination, and the entry of Hong Kong (China) among the top ten tourism destinations. France maintains its leading position as the world's most visited destination with 75.1 million tourist arrivals in 2004, or almost the same level of 2003 (+ 0.1%). Spain, where tourist arrivals grew by 3.4 per cent, ranks second with 53.6 million arrivals. It is followed by the USA, with 46.1 million arrivals, showing a significant recovery from the poor results of the past three years (+12% as compared to 2003).

The most notable change in the ranking by international tourist arrivals was China's move from 5th to the number 4 position, trading places with Italy. In 2004, China fully recovered from the setbacks caused by the SARS outbreak and posted a spectacular 27 per cent increase, achieving an all-time record of almost 42 million tourist arrivals, while tourist arrivals to Italy declined by more than 6 per cent to a total of 37.1 million. (Source: SPTO & WTO News Release 19/05/2005)

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