30 Jul 2013

Amid independence celebrations, Vanuatu PM projects growth targets

8:45 pm on 30 July 2013

The Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses estimates up to five million tourists a year could visit the country if a planned airport development goes ahead.

The government plans to use a Singaporean company in a deal reportedly worth 350 million US dollars, but it says it will not involve the government borrowing money.

Currently Vanuatu gets 218 thousand visitors a year but Mr Carcasses, speaking at the country's independence celebrations, said the developments at Port Vila's Bauerfield Airport would allow the biggest Boeing aircraft to fly in from Asia.

He says there would also be airport upgrades in Santo, Malekula, Pentecost and Tanna.

Mr Carcasses says he wants to get the country back on the 6 percent growth path it was on in the early 2000s, but he says he needs stable government to achieve it.

He also promised more commitment to the education and health sectors.