2 Aug 2013

Vanuatu airport development about fostering key resource, tourism

4:32 am on 2 August 2013

The Vanuatu foreign minister, Edward Natapei, says a planned 350 million US dollar development of the country's airports is vital to grow its main resource, tourism.

He says they need the development to allow Asian tourists to fly in directly.

Mr Natapei says the government is confident that its exposure, through a promissory note underwriting the development by the Singaporean business, GMR, which has set up a company called Vanuatu Trade Development Pte Ltd, will be limited and controlled.

He says the government is very keen on an idea that they believe will allow Vanuatu to eventually cater for five million tourists annually.

"For the first four or five years, it is not that figure. We are targetting a million in the first four or five years. After that we will need to do some work to extend the terminal to accommodate larger numbers, and that is when we will be targetting five million."

Edward Natapei.

He says in time the project will include a new airport in Port Vila.