Richard Butler |  19th December 2018...

I incorrectly reported last week the Australian Government announced at APEC Papau New Guinea was going to provide $1.5 billion for infrastructure into the South Pacific. It is now $3 billion between the Islands of the South Pacific.

A substantial amount of money pouring in for infrastructure, roadworks, airfields, hospitals, schools and humanitarian projects which will provide employment. This answers many dreams for the local political leaders in Pacific Islands.

However, my dream became a reality after visiting Vanuatu in 2008. I traveled to Port Vila, Vanuatu, on a invitation to discuss the new strata title act in for marketing, especially tourism projects. At that time it was prior to the great financial crisis of late 2008, or what is usually called the Lehman Bros Crash in the United States.

At that time there was a plan for a new airport on the southern side of Port Villa – possibly from 15 to 20 minutes from Port Vila. A huge international travel company to travel, which is based out of Europe Tui travel, had sent the purchasing officer over to inspect the site with the idea of having larger planes fly directly into the South Pacific.

Well, the great financial crisis happened in the later part of 2008 – many of you will be able to remember that planes where mothballed in the Arizona desert, simply because people were not flying, they couldn’t afford to take holidays, people lost their jobs, people had lost their family fortunes, people’s businesses went bankrupt from lack of funding in Australia, America and other parts of Europe.

It was indeed the worst crash since the Great Depression.

Somehow we all muddled our way through that time, but what actually happened was that the tourism in Vanuatu increased, because the Australian government gave all taxpayers a gift of $1000 to spend in the Australian marketplace to generate business. What actually happened was that many took an overseas trip, but a thousand dollars would not get yourself and your spouse to New York, London, or most cities of Asia at that time.

Although, it was enough to make a return trip to Vanuatu, so our visitor’s numbers increased. That was the first time I saw what could happen if the tourism increased in arrivals by air and sea travel.

Vanuatu did not suffer anywhere as much as the rest of the world, because we were heavily dependent on tourism and agriculture.

Vanuatu in 2005 had started to establish the first Strata Title Act and was moving towards application to be a member of the World Trade Association. These two actions have actually, I believe, set Vanuatu up to prosperity for decades.

The World Trade Organisation membership meant that international corporations looked seriously at doing business with Vanuatu as we were now working underneath the same rules and regulations of wealthier first world nations around the world – and with only a population of 275,000 people. Outside the Vatican and another small island of Nauru, Vanuatu is the smallest member of the world trade organisation population wise.

Vanuatu’s government started putting into action plans for the establishment of infrastructure requirements from advise for attention of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations advice.

The first one that I noticed was the Millennium Project, which was $120 million of funds and was designed to provide upgraded and tar sealed road all the way around the main island of Efate, of 120 km, and also on Santo, in the road from the township of Luganville up the Eastern Coast, and right the way up to hogs Harbour about 60 kilometers.

These roadworks meant that, outside the city, Island Villages could now access the markets on the island of Port Vila and Luganville – in most cases in under an hour of travelling. In other cases, before the upgrade, if you got caught in between the rivers’ high rainfall could take a couple of days, and the new road meant that tourist could start to discover the real Vanuatu.

Islanders can now get their produce from their gardens to the markets, and the mamas can now set up a stand where the cruise ships coming in selling handicrafts, and tourist could start to discover the real Vanuatu!

Also the second set of airport concept plans for the expansion of the airport well underway in 2012 and there was a Singaporean company that had offered to upgrade the existing Airport and Port Vila with an injection of $350 million.

However, they require the sovereign guarantee, which the Vanuatu government could not provide – because the guarantee for 350 million was almost twice with the GDP of the whole country was yearly – so, after many months of investigation, that project was rejected

However step in the World Trade Organisation and the International monetary fund, which offered $75 million for the upgrading of the airports one on Port Vila, which is named Bauerfield, the one on Santo island, which is known as Pekoa, and the Tanna Island airport, which is proving to be very popular with tourism because you can visit a live volcano, one for the bucket list.

We wish to advise we now have been provided with an aerial picture confirming the work that’s been done on the main airfield, and ready for launch in early 2019. We will be able to have direct flights coming in from China – we believe from the Guangzhou airport, which has 65 million passenger movements a year. Just a small section on that, even 00.05%, will change Vanuatu tourism and investment.

But there is something else that is happened which people have not cottoned on to yet the Chinese government is also just finished an extensive connecting road from Hong Kong down to Macau which means that four airports would be an easy flying distance to Vanuatu which is Hong Kong Shenzhen and Macau and Guangzhou.

All hungry for organic agriculture and eco-tourism experiences

So the future of tourism in Vanuatu is bright just from a small % lift in Air tourists from China, not to mention flights from Japan or the further afield from the east coast of America. Vanuatu is well placed in virtually an arc of countries from Japan round to New Zealand on the western side of the Pacific.

Travel agents will now be able to send tourists to visit the newest eco-tourism destination that the world in most cases has not heard off, and soon to be available for long-haul wide-body jets without having to stop to refuel that carry more passengers for less cost.

If this oncoming opportunity is not enough, along with international flights ,we now have some fantastic infrastructure developments that are completed in planning or underway.

Obviously, if you bring in long-haul planes with several hundreds of people on board conferencing and seminar centres are very important and Vanuatu has this already and waiting .

We have an $18 million new conference centre which is completed and is being used by both local Vanuatu groups especially the church groups and departments of the government regularly, but also by large conferences, it can accommodate 1000 in theatre style and 600 for a sit-down banquette.

In November 2017 we had the South Pacific games, and again the facilities are world-class Port Vila had 20 countries attend the games and the opening was in the fabulous new sports stadium with international standard running track, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and a soccer field in the centre of the track a separate building which is perfect for indoor sports such as the wrestling boxing jujitsu karate and also a indoor basketball court. outside archery and a estimated cost of this would be well in excess of $30 million.

So now Vanuatu has upgraded airports about to kick in opportunities for large groups coming in for seminars opportunities for large sporting groups coming in to use the facilities all these things are required to be able to be operating if you’re looking to entice international travel to your nation.

I was lucky enough to see this in four cities in Australia in the last 40 years, Brisbane had the Commonwealth games then it was followed up with the expo 88 and a new international upgraded airport.

Long-term residents living in these cities will advise that these infrastructure projects changed the city and lifestyle for the better of all both tourists and locals.

The same thing just recently happened on the state of Queensland on the Gold Coast with the upgrading of all the sporting facilities and also Sydney with the 2000 Olympic Games and Melbourne with the Commonwealth games these projects of infrastructure increase the livability of the city and make it more attractive for people to relocate or retire to.

Further infrastructure was provided by the Australian government $39 million for the upgrading of the roads in the city and tar sealing off the streets.

The New Zealand government provided $19 million for upgrading the infrastructure along the waterfront which is now a delightful location to stroll along and a great place to visit the markets and holds regular entertainment in the park

The Chinese government assisted with building new office blocks for the Vanuatu government and is going to support further I’ve been told with assistance in developing the new residential premises for the Prime Minister.

The Port Vila Malapoa secondary school s is just opened up, and that was a multimillion-dollar project funded by the Chinese government

As well is all this with had Efate island -Port Vila two shipping ports an investment of $46 and $88 million and on the Espirito Santo Island an investment of $115 million and upgrading the wharf to be reported as the longest in the South Pacific- 350 m long.

Private enterprise raises $46 million to bring in the South Pacific communication cable to Port Vila, so we now have 4G available in Vanuatu and were only 39 ms connection away from the finance and stock markets of London, New York, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Japan.

And then as reported last week in my weekly podcast the President of China signed seven memorandums of understanding with the Vanuatu government. We have only been advised at this point of time of the $70 million for roadworks on Malekula island(where our papaya farmlet project is) and Tanna island and also $60 million for upgrading container inspections on the new wharves.

We will keep reporting to you the incredible change that is happening in the Republic of Vanuatu and some of the other South Pacific islands, at present the focus of the world is on the South Pacific islands to assist them in catching up to the 21st-century, many would say long overdue, but most are very appreciative of the lifting lifestyle, and access to all these amazing improvements brings to the local population. Its been said that almost a bidding war of help from China, USA, Australia and other APEC countries.

The South Pacific holds many challenges for investors; the most important one understands the different lifestyle and expectations that the nations of the islands challenge you with.

But with the lifting of the tourism profile especially with the Pacific Islands closest to Australia and Asia such as Republic of Vanuatu I can only see the discovery of this magnificent eco-tourism blessed nation being discovered by the rest of the world in the next decade.

We have projects ranging from investing in agricultural farming, tourism venture,s single lot bungalows with guaranteed rental returns, investments in forestry harvesting, as well we can also provide the opportunity for investment for residency, we also have the availability of offering the opportunity for interested individuals to purchase passport and citizenship

In closing this article today I’ve been in Vanuatu for ten years, the changes I’ve seen in the last three years is nothing short than an economic miracle but brought on by many years of planning as I have said its catch time for the Vanuatu.

But I must state that Vanuatu is not losing its mojo the traditional village lifestyle is still there the conventional welcome to tourists is a strong as ever if not stronger, because finally, they have woken up to the fact that tourism and agriculture are the two primary forms of income for the nation, and both these two streams of income earning for the gross national product have to be nurtured and maintained.

As mentioned before the Republic of Vanuatu has no oil to pump up no iron ore to dig out, no precious metals to be mined, but a major asset is the friendly and genuine nature of the welcome from the residents of Vanuatu know as Ni-vans.

The nation of Vanuatu as mentioned is dependent on tourism and agriculture; we would like to offer an invitation for you to contact me if you wish to discuss the opportunity one on one.

My website is and I can be contacted on +61417007792. Local number in Australia: 0417007792.

My email: [email protected] My skype: pacifichavenresort. Wechat ric6554.

Pictures source: Hearty thanks to James Kirkland, and VTO

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