TOURIST figures for March are out and they show the poor start to the year has continued, with figures showing occupancy is 10.2 per cent down on last year.The situation is far worse in Santo with an alarming fall, but the luxury end of the market continues to grow with a healthy jump of 35.8 per cent over 2011. Like many people, WW still feels strongly that the government should be providing a bigger budget to the tourism authorities, because we are lsoing too many Mum and Dad tourists to Fiji, where cocnerns about it being a military junta have worn off.
THE piles of cut elephant grass and other vegetation that have been sitting beside the road to Mele in heaps for a few weeks now are finally a thing of the past. They had been sitting there so long that they were re-growing in their own muck.
The road verges badly needed cleaning up but the end result was both a road hazard and an unsightly mess in recent times. Well done to see it gone and the road conditions are much safer as a result.
Now the round island road needs urgent attention for the same reasons. Some stretches have been done, but most areas are so overgrown, it is encroaching on to the road itself and that it is a real danger to motorists and pedestrians alike.
WW has heaps of bouquets for the staff at the Mele Cascades waterfall gardens who basically saved the life of a 17-year-old female tourist who was swept away in a raging torrent that was racing through the area during our recent bouts of torrential rain.
The teenager was touring Cascades with her family and the group had just waded through water waist deep, yet they inexplicably kept going, rather than thinking conditions were becoming alarmingly dangerous.
It’s a well known fact that at most overseas destinations, many of the aforementioned tourists simply leave their brains at home when they go on holidays. The teenager was then almost predictably swept away in the swirling waters but fortunately, quick thinking staff jumped in and dragged her to safety.
The incident happened at a time when Cascades management was in the process of closing down their tourist attraction because of the dangerous conditions. The teenager and her family were shaken but otherwise OK and full of praise for Cascades staff.
No doubt a tragedy had been averted, but WW believes the incident serves as a critical and timely reminder to resort and tourist operators that they need to consider serious to extreme weather conditions and warn tourists of the dangers where applicable.
THE arrival in Vanuatu for the first time of the super cruiser, The World should have been a major event on Monday, but in reality it was pretty much a fizzer. WW understands PM Kilman and several MPs were welcomed on board, which meant for that timeframe, a quorum was not achievable in Parliament.
But that aside, this mega-cruise liner, where you own the staterooms and cabins rather than renting them, had only 200 or so owner/cruisers on board and most did not venture ashore, so it was pretty much a non-event for Vila and Vanuatu.
WW believes it was good to see a genuine movie star like Jackie Chan rock into town this week. Good for the locals to see a real star up close and personal at the airport and hopefully down the track there may be a spin off for our tourism from the movie he’s making in part in Tanna. No beef there, but WW has a beef when he sees in photos that Chan had a police escort at the airport for his brief move across the two terminals.
WW was told there were six police officers escorting him and although this could not be confirmed, photos taken show more than two police officers at the very least. Why?
Everyone who lives here knows how hard it is to get police to attend anything less than a homicide, so why this? With more than 100 mostly successful films under his belt, the trappings of Mr Chan’s wealth were there for all to see as he arrived in his own personal jet with his name emblazoned on the tail. So there is absolutely no doubt that the kung fu star could afford his own security wherever he goes and not require the services of Vanuatu’s finest.
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