29th June 2016
Over the last 18 months Vanuatu has had a bit of a tough time. Between cyclonic weather, runway issues and car accidents, the holiday destination has copped its fair share of bad press. However none of these events seem to have affected tourism in the long run, which is a testament to the charm of a Vanuatu holiday.
General Manager of Vanuatu Tourism Organisation, Linda Kalpoi said the island nation is resilient and is especially skilled in rebuilding and maintaining arrivals. Speaking last week at the Vanuatu Roadshow, Ms Kalpoi explained that the attitude amongst agents and indeed their customers was that these issues could have occurred anywhere.
"I got a feeling from Agents that there was nothing that will tarnish Vanuatu in any way or form" she said.
Regardless of whether it's aviation or weather-related incidents, Ms Kalpoi said the Australian market was always quick to return and in fact remains the destination's number one market, comprising 60 per cent of all of Vanuatu's international arrivals. Agents agreed that despite some of the challenges Vanuatu had faced in the last 18 months, Vanuatu holiday packages were still popular sellers.
Ms Kalpoi also touched on the recent Port Vila bus collision involving guests from a P&O cruise ship, expressing her sympathy to all those affected in the unfortunate incident.
"We are saddened by the accident, which involved P&O guests and locals. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected" she said.
The Vanuatu Roadshow, which was touring major Australian cities, aimed to provide agents with an update after last year's cyclone which tore through the region damaging properties and schools. Ms Kalpoi was pleased to report that the destination is fully recovered and that all shops, restaurants and hotels open for business.
Ms Kalpoi also touched on the issue of the Port Vila runway, which sustained cyclone damage. She said Virgin Australia has recommenced services to the destination after a temporary fix was completed and that the government had future plans to open an international airport capable of handling long range aircraft.