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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

New Airport Plans To Be Discussed With Vanuatu Landowners
Deputy PM touts advantages of existing infrastructure in Efate

By Len Garae

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 17, 2013) – In Vanuatu, the Vaturisu Council of Chiefs has mandated its president, Chief Andrew Kalpoilep and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Jimmy Meameadola, hold talks with landowners including investors –especially in South Efate – about the importance of building a bigger and longer international airport to cater for bigger aircraft including 747s and 767s.

Shefa Secretary General Michel Kalworai called an urgent meeting with the Vaturisu this week in line with an urgent directive from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Tourism, Ham Lini, for the authorities of Efate to consider allowing for one more international airport to be built here.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the advantage Efate has over other islands and Provinces is that it has the necessary infrastructure in place including the Ring Road round the island. "The Vaturisu Council of Chiefs is excited over the directive saying such a major project would also mean employment opportunities for school leavers as well as more opportunities for investors in the hospitality industry," SG Kalworai says.

The country’s biggest tourist market is Australia and takes approximately three hours and fifteen minutes to fly from Sydney to Port Vila.

If Koreans are willing to fund such a project, it is because they also see a Korean tourist market in Vanuatu so it would be a possibility for direct flights from Seoul to touch down in Port Vila.

The same would go for Chinese tourists for whom the biggest challenge is language. By flying direct from China to Port Vila would also ease transit problems.

So far all Korean and Chinese visitors to Vanuatu fly through Australia, Fiji and New Caledonia.

Meanwhile reliable sources claim brothers and prominent investors Dinh Van Than and Dominique Dinh have invested heavily at Blue Water and White Sands Country Club with the possibility in mind that an international airport might be built in the vicinity.

Vanuatu Daily Post:
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