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Page: Travel Bug 51 - May 2009 Vanuatu travel news

Travel Bug

Issue 51 - May 2009

South Pacific Tourism Thrived in 2008

Despite incredibly high oil prices and the onset of the global economic crisis, South Pacific tourism set another record in 2008. Visitors increased by 3% to surpass 1.36 million. This follows increases of 4% in 2007 and 3% in 2006. South Pacific Islands bucked regional trends. The greater Pacific region, which also includes Hawaii, Guam/Saipan, Australia and New Zealand, experienced a -4.6% decline in 2008 as noted by the Pacific Asia Travel Association. Chief Executive Tony Everitt said, "Once again our sector demonstrates its resilience."

Tourism has been driving economic growth in the South Pacific this century. However, 2009 is going to be a challenging year for every industry in every region of the world. Our neighbours Australia are forecasting a 5% decline in visitors to their shores this year, and New Zealand a -10% decline. Our industry in the South Pacific would be wise to brace for declines of a similar magnitude. However, given the beginnings of global economic recovery from 2010, there is no reason why we can’t return to our long-term growth trend.” There was some variability in the 2008 figures across the region. Niue, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tonga showed good growth.

Fiji recovered from its 2007 decline to set a new high. Tahiti experienced a double-digit decline largely because its main markets are Europe, USA and Japan. All are long-haul and therefore were more affected by the oil price spike. These large Northern Hemisphere economies are also the major victims of the economic crisis. Everitt said “We expect 2009 may also show considerable variation between destinations within the region. For the first quarter, Vanuatu and Samoa for example are doing well. Tahiti however is encountering difficult market conditions due to the Northern Hemisphere orientation of its markets.” (Source: VTO Island Nius)

Pango Green Motel to open

Pango Green Motel is set
to open in a few months time,
by the owner and
manager Mr Philip Coulon

In a few months time, a new development located just before the Pango French School and Tree Top Lodge, will open for tourist travellers. The proud owner and manager Mr Philip Coulon, a Ni-Vanuatu, says the motel has 10 units in total, 5 ground floor units and 5 upstairs with a direct view of the ocean. The studios will be self contained, have bathroom & toilet ensuite, ceiling fans with private balcony, room allocations of twin singles and double beds, and will be facilitated with hot and cold showers, fridge and laundry services for guests convenience. There will be a guest relations officer to look after guests and answer to their enquiry, a reception telephone, and daily room services available.

Future plans to build a private parking area is confirmed once the motel has completed full construction, including plans to erect a high fence wall around the back of the motel. Guests staying at the motel will have access to the beach area in front of the property, as well as its’ restaurant, which is yet to be built. For more information visit our Pango Motel page.

Air Vanuatu Early Bird Airfares

Air Vanuatu has announced their own stimulus package by extending their popular EARLY BIRD fares to Vanuatu. “With news of the economic downturn hitting Australia and competition on long-haul routes to America and Europe tempting travelers to the Northern Hemisphere, we still think the smart option for an affordable holiday this year is Vanuatu,” Air Vanuatu’s Australian manager, Malcolm Pryor said.

Being so close to Australia, Vanuatu is well placed to capitalise on the credit crisis by offering short holidays for hard working Australians. “Short breaks to destinations such as America and Europe are not attractive – they are simply too far away. We are offering return flights for around 50,000vt; at this price and at just three hours away, there is no better destination for Australians to holiday.” Mr. Pryor said Air Vanuatu would shortly commence a massive campaign with a leading Australian wholesaler to market affordable holidays to Vanuatu. “Now is not the time to back away from promoting ourselves. Air Vanuatu is proud to be a destination marketer and we are confident of filling planes from Australia this year.”

Air Vanuatu’s forward bookings are defying worldwide trends by continuing to be strong. Some flights during Australian school holidays have all but sold out already. “For Vanuatu residents wanting their families and friends to visit them this year, tell them to contact their travel agent in Australia or book online at before the early bird fares sell out,” Mr. Pryor advised. Return fares (including taxes and surcharges) start at $534.70 from Brisbane, $593.97 from Sydney and $625.57 from Melbourne. The Early Bird fares are available for sale until 30 May, for travel until December. (Source: VTO Island Nius)


The 8th Annual “Tok Tok” is to be held at the Sebel Vanuatu on August 27 and 28, 2009. Jointly organized by the Vanuatu Tourism Office, in partnership with the local tourism industry, Tok Tok remains Vanuatu’s premier event on the tourism calendar. Tok Tok is an important catalyst for the growth of international tourism to Vanuatu, particularly in the current volatile economic climate, providing a forum for tourism wholesalers and agents from around the world to meet with Vanuatu’s tourism providers. For additional information on Tok Tok 2009 please contact Joe Iautu, Trade and Events Officer at the Vanuatu Tourism Office on or phone + 678 22515.

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