Deputy Prime Minister vows to protect visitors, investment

“I am sorry about what happened at Tanna Lodge but we are fixing that today (yesterday), not only to protect our tourists over there but to make sure that when you invest in Vanuatu, we are protecting your investment also.

“You know that Vanuatu is not strictly Port Vila, we also have beautiful islands out there."

The Deputy Prime Minister made the remarks in his welcome address to Tok Tok 2015 buyers from Australia during breakfast at Grand Hotel, courtesy of Tok Tok Vanuatu historical sponsor, ANZ Bank Vanuatu and Vanuatu Tourism Office yesterday.

His timely remarks come on the heels of extensive media coverage of the Tanna Lodge fire during which 21 Australian tourists had to be evacuated from the southern island to Port Vila for safety reasons this week.

While calling on Australians to visit to invest in the country, the Deputy Prime Minister said the Government not only recognises the contributions made by tourists and investors towards the national economy especially now after cyclone Pam, but that his Government has already laid the groundwork with assistance from generous donor partners to build a 1.2 kilometre walkway along the sea front.

This is to cater for visitors who arrive with a real hunger to chill out as well as to enjoy getting their money’s worth by shopping in the new shopping outlets on the sea front when the project is completed.

Also the Government has just completed the groundbreaking ceremony for the Port Vila Lapetasi International Wharf Infrastructure Development Project next to the Main Wharf.

The state of the art wharf infrastructure is being built by a prominent Japanese wharf construction company, which is expected to be completed in 17 months’ time.

Also, the Government is working on new policies to ease the official red tape to promote more attractive investment opportunities.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and Trade, Moana Carcasses assured the Australian wholesalers and local tour operators and hospitality industry representatives that the Government is committed to ensuring a safe environment to encourage investors to invest in the country.

The largest number of tourists as well as investors come from Australia.