2 Aug 2013

Vanuatu planning bigger airports to attract more Asian visitors

3:06 pm on 2 August 2013

The Vanuatu deputy prime minister, Edward Natapei, says the country is missing out on Asian tourists and that is why the government is backing a huge development of airports around the country.

The planned scheme would involve a Singaporean company, called Vanuatu Trade Development, building and operating several airports, which would be given back to the government after 50 years.

It is slotted to cost 350 million US dollars which the company would provide but with commitment from the Vanuatu government through a promissory note.

Mr Natapei says the limitations of Port Vila's Bauerfield Airport mean that Asian tourists have no easy route to Vanuatu.

"They have to either travel to Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia or Fiji, so we are missing out on the [Asian] tourists. The plan is to target the Asian tourists and to do that we would have to relocate the airport to another site and hope that we can bring in larger aircraft, wide bodied aircraft direct from the Asian countries."

Vanuatu's deputy prime minister, Edward Natapei