Discover what Matters Vanuatu

A tropical paradise, only three and a half hours from Sydney, Vanuatu means ‘the land that has always existed’.  It is made up of 83 islands formed in a Y-shaped archipelago which stretches over some 800 kilometres of the Pacific Ocean, half way between Australia and Hawaii.  The biggest islands of Vanuatu are Santo, Malekula, Efate, Ambrym, Erromango and Tanna. The waters surrounding our beautiful islands provide some of the most spectacular and varied underwater exploration in the South Pacific and experienced divers come from all over the world to swim amongst the WWII wrecks which lie scattered over the seabed.

Capital

Port Vila is the capital city of Vanuatu and is situated on the island of Efate in the SHEFA Province.  Today Efate offers safe anchorage to who visit the capital , Port Vila, by boat and there is Bauerfield, the international plane terminal, about 10 minutes drive from the capital.  Port Vila is the gateway to Vanuatu.

The People

The Ni-Vanuatu have populated these islands for centuries and predominantly Melanesian, the people speak more than 115 languages and also speak English, French, and Bislama, a form of pidgin.  Vanuatu is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.

History

The first European to visit these shores was Spanish navigator Fernandes de Quiros who landed at Big Bay on Espiritu Santo in 1606.  The French explorer, Bougainville, arrived almost 160 years later and in 1774 Captain James Cook charted all the islands and named the archipelago the New Hebrides.  In 1839, missionary John Williams attempted to impose Western ways and Christianity on the Ni Vanuatu and was clubbed to death and eaten.  The locals had no defences however, against the slave traders, known as black-birders who shanghaied more than 40 000 people to work on the sugar plantations in Australia.  In the 1860s, British and French interests purchased huge tracts of land for cotton plantations and the Ni Vanuatu retaliated by killing a number of Europeans, only to suffer extensive naval bombardment of their villages.  The French and British jointly colonized the islands in 1906.

During WWII the 250 000 Americans stationed in Vanuatu brought in enormous amounts of cargo which led the Ni Vanuatu to believe that such vast wealth could only have come from the gods.  The New Hebrides gained Independence in July 1980 and was renamed Vanuatu.

Nature

Vanuatu has rich lush tropical rainforests, volcanoes, sparkling blue lagoons, cascading waterfalls and beaches that range from silky white to volcanic black.  Surrounding the land is a magic sea of aqua and dark blues with a fascinating underwater world of colourful tropical fish that live amongst magnificent coral reef formations.
Tourism

The tourism industry throughout the country is the heart of the country’s economy. Vanuatu has numerous world-class hotels and resorts, excellent telecommunication facility and airline networkd that can connect you to the rest of Melanesia.  The islands have some of the most beautiful landscapes and unique tourist attractions in the South Pacific. Vanuatu as a tourist destination of the world is host to two key tourist attractions, the Land Diving on South Pentecost and the exclusive visit to the Yasur volcano on Tanna. It also offers to visitors beautiful corals, waterfalls, bush walking, historical and magnificent deep sea diving, fishing and numerous adventure sports.  Vanuatu’s culture is not only preserved but breathtaking in that the people still live by the traditions and values of their ancestors.

Investment

Vanuatu is known for its very peaceful and rich cultural environment.  Investment in these Islands is welcome and there are numerous opportunities, especially in tourism, agriculture/forestry and fisheries.  The Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) is a one-stop shop has been established to support investors ease the process of potential investors interested in investing in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is a tax haven.  There are no income taxes on company income or employees income, no capital gains taxes, freedom to repatriate capital.  With these and other incentives offered by the country to foreign investors, excellent international air and shipping links to Australia, New Zealand and the world, excellent telecommunication services, a growing tourist industry and strong recognition of the importance of foreign and local investment in the country by all political parties and the Government, this is an opportune time to invest in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu welcomes investments from any country in the world and also encourages local investors to expand, diversify their commercial activities.

Trade

Vanuatu is a signatory to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Trade Agreement.  The MSG Trade Agreement is a document that expresses the strong bonds of brotherhood that runs deep amongst its members (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu).  It is the manifestation of the commercial dimension of this relationship between MSG member countries.

The MSG Trade Agreement was established to bring the markets of the Melanesian States closer.  The burgeoning trade in goods and services has continued to increase over the years.  The Melanesian market offers the largest and most attractive products in the Pacific region.

Climate

Average temperature is 28 degrees Celsius.  Winter average is 23 degrees Celsius.  Hottest months November to March and occasional heavy rain between January to April.

Time Zone

GMT + 11 hours and AEST + 1 hour.

Electricity

220 – 280 volts, AC/50 cycles – mainly three point plugs.

Visas & Health

A 30-day permit issued on arrival.  Departure tax of VT 2800 per person (except children under 12), is payable when purchasing your ticket.  No vaccinations required, but antimalarial precautions recommended for visits to outer islands.  Citizens of member countries of the Melanesian Spearhead Group are eligible for visa exempt to travel to the Republic of Fiji Islands, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Air Travel

Air Vanuatu, Air Caledonie, Solomon Airlines and Air Pacific frequently fly to the capital Port Vila.  Air Vanuatu also provides the domestic services to 29 airports around the 6 Provinces of Vanuatu.