Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Monday Escape: Port Vila, Vanuatu

Port Vila

Port Vila is the capital city of the beautiful Pacific islands nation of Vanuatu. It’s also the country’s economic and commercial center and most populous city. And you’ll be hard pressed to find many better places to live in the whole of the South Pacific.

Vanuatu is a tax haven, which many business oriented expats may find appealing, and offshore financing in Port Vila is an important part of the economy.

Furthermore, although the local creole language of Bislama is most commonly spoken here, English and French are very common and easy to get around with. In fact, in the 19th Century the area was claimed by French settlers and called “Franceville”, which at the time was entirely self-governing, with one of their first elected presidents– R.D. Polk– of American citizenry. Franceville was also the first nation to practice universal suffrage with no distinction between race or sex.

Major industries in the city remain agriculture and fishing. Tourism is also becoming important, especially from Australia and New Zealand. There were over 50,000 visitors in 1997.

Port Vila was the location in August 1999 for the important UNESCO meeting ”2nd World Heritage Global Strategy Meeting for the Pacific Islands Region”. One of the major topics with reference to Vanuatu and the Pacific region was the question of the suitability of underwater heritage for inscription on the World Heritage List.

The islands of Vanuatu are still very young and very active volcanically, symbolizing their vibrant culture, full of life and energy, as well as their rich biological resources– especially in the surrounding seas. Even so, the government is a stable democracy and Christianity is the religion of 90% of the population, creating a fair amount of ideological consistency and familiarity to many expats.

Best yet, in 2006 the New Economics Foundation and Friends of the Earth environmentalist group published the Happy Planet Index which analysed data on levels of reported happiness, life expectancy and Ecological Footprint and estimated Vanuatu to be the most ecologically efficient country in the world in achieving high well-being. Can’t beat that!

The country isn’t too far of a flight from the coast of Australia, so a big continent is nearby if you ever feel a bit island sick. But we think after an initial visit, most of your flights will be into this magnificant country rather than out.


One thought on “Monday Escape: Port Vila, Vanuatu

  1. Hi
    Wondering if you are still living in Vanuatu as my partner and I are considering moving there next year.

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