by Sasha Pei Silovo – EM TV Online
Women in Vanuatu’s arts and crafts sector are feeling the pinch of the slump in tourism on the island nation.
This decline has come about following the closure of flights by international airline companies to Vanuatu’s Bauerfield Airport, due to the condition of the airport runway.
Early this year, Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand stopped all flights to Vanuatu.
The airport runway is currently being repaired with funding from the World Bank.
Local artisans and craftswomen are said to be affected by the lack of visitors to the country, as their goods go unsold; having a detrimental effect on their livelihood.
Businesses have also called on the government to allow for a tax exemption until the runway’s repairs are completed, citing the reduction of flights as having a devastating effect on business. A petition has been signed calling on the government to fast track repair work and allow for the tax exemptions till May, this year.
Vanuatu’s economy is dominated by the tourism industry, with an estimated 65 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) being made from tourism. The country’s economy has experienced growth over the last 10 years due to tourism and construction.