Over 2 Billion Vatu Project

    The Carnival Australia Company is to make a major investment of well over 2 billion vatu in a new tourism project on Mystery Island in Tafea Province. The company have come up with the project because cruise ships have been visiting Mystery Island for 40 years, but for some reason the facilities on the island have still not improved.

    This new project initiative aims to improve infrastructure development on the small island off Aneityum, which is one of the top five tourist destinations in the Pacific. The island's chiefs have agreed to the project proposal, but with some recommendations to be considered before and after the project is implemented.

    A government delegation led by Russel Nari, First Political Advisor to the Ministry of Justice and Community Services met with the chiefs and residents of Aneityum at Anelcuahta village last Friday to further discuss the project, as December is the last month in which an agreement can be reached on the project.

    The outcome of the meeting was good, and there are four key tasks for the government to work with Carnival Australia to facilitate the initial phase of the project.

    The Customary Land Management Office is to clarify the ownership of Mystery Island and once this clarification is complete, a company will be established to operate the tourism business on Mystery Island.

    In the meantime, communication between the Vanuatu Government and Carnival Australia will be handled through the Nafakarau Island Council of Chiefs. Whereas the normal business operations are being overseen by Mystery Island Tourism Holdings Limited (MITHL) on an interim basis until the new company is established and takes over operations.

    The Nafakarau Island Council of Chiefs and the people of Aneityum made a customary declaration that no customary land on the island of Aneityum will be leased under any circumstances now, and in the future. Therefore, in order to protect this major investment, the meeting had resolved that the development will be managed under a special concession agreement between the local company owned by the Chief and the people of Aneityum and the developer.

    This company will manage the new Mystery Island project with the highest degree of transparency and accountability for the benefit of the entire population of Aneityum Island.

    According to Adrien Mooney, Carnival Australia's representative in Vanuatu, who was part of the delegation to Aneityum last week, the company is planning to build a market house where all Mamas can sell their crafts and artifacts, which are also sourced from other islands in the northern and central parts of Vanuatu.

    A permanent central entertainment center, a place where tourists can have lunch together, and build standard cabana houses around Mystery Island where people can be employed to run their business, with the money going back to a new local trust.

    Adrian Mooney went on to say that there will be four large and fast boats that can take up to 30 passengers at a time and travel around Aneityum Island to see the tourist attractions.

    All tours run by locals will be sold on board the cruise ships, so there will be no problems for tour operators and visitors.

    He assured the people that once the infrastructure project is completed, more cruise ships and extra-large boats would visit Mystery Island. The people of Aneityum and other islands of Vanuatu, the provincial government, the national government and Carnival Australia will benefit from the project.

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