Tourism downturn a positive time
Cyclone Pam was the first issue to put an immediate stop on tourist numbers entering Vanuatu. Soon afterwards, runway issues at the international airport, created another barrier for inbound travellers. Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Qantas all stopped flying into Vanuatu early in 2016.
This spelt disaster in terms of the local economy. The trickle-down effect has been felt by many people.
During this “down time”, a silver lining which I have observed, is a number of new tourist ventures being developed by ni Vanuatu. One which is close to my heart, is based in Pango village; a 10 minute drive out of Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Lav Kokonas has been supporting the development through suggestions on items for sale and services to provide, as well as making donations of items to support those ideas. Paradise Beach Pango opened this week.
Community labour of love
Travellers to Vanuatu and locals alike will be familiar with Honeymoon Beach. Located very close to Port Vila, the northern end of the beach, being kastom owned, has been renamed Paradise Beach Pango.
Over the past 5 months, the community have taken a collaborative approach to planning and developing the site. All ages have participated in clearing the beach and roadside of scrub and rubbish and the washed up coral (from Cyclone Pam). Collectively they have sourced local timber and built beach shelters in traditional fashion, in addition a larger nakamal and several small market houses.
Initially the market place will be opened on cruise ship days, however, as time goes by, that will change. The community are committed to showcasing Vanuatu at its best, with products for sale in the mammas markets stalls, being either Vanuatu grown or made. You can also enjoy the safe swimming in the large “swimming pool” immediately in front of the development.
Historically the site is the place of the old village of Pango, which moved many years ago. A few artefacts were found during the clear up, including these bullets from World War 2 and a shell fashioned into a cutting implement.
The Pango community are appreciative of the support of Vanuatu Tourism for their advice and support during the planning stages.
The photos speak for themselves. When you’re in Port Vila and want to relax at the beach, this is the perfect place.
Put it on your bucket list.
To follow the progress, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE their facebook page for Paradise Beach Pango here.
Mi lukim yu