Several leading resorts in Vanuatu could be closed for many months to come as the clean-up from Tropical Cyclone Pam reveals the extent of damage from one of the most powerful storms to ever cross land in the South Pacific.
Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila bore the brunt of TC Pam, which has become the worst natural disaster in the history of Vanuatu.
At least 11 people are known to have lost their lives so far and authorities are fearing the death toll could rise further.
Such is the damage that the capital Port Vila and town Tanna sustained, the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) in Australia is urging travellers who have bookings in the coming months to push back bookings until later in the year.
Australian Director of VTO Sarah Anderson said, “While we are hearing of some properties in Port Vila that are open for business the reality is that the attractions and activities that form such a vital part of a holiday in Vanuatu are not and won’t be operational for a few weeks at least.
“The priority remains to get much needed aid to the communities of the islands badly affected by the cyclone and so we are advising anyone with travel booked to Port Vila or Tanna to postpone at this stage.
“Those with travel booked to the island of Espiritu Santo, should proceed with their holiday as planned because the island is in good condition and open and for business,” she said.
A spokesperson for IHG said that last guests from the Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu were expected to be evacuated very shortly and all staff and guests that had been working at the time of the storm had been accounted for.
The resort would then be closed for a period of time while repairs were undertaken, the spokesperson said, adding no time frame for a re-opening had been announced.
As for other properties throughout Vanuatu, the following has been advised:
Port Vila properties
Tamanu on the Beach: Sustained significant damage. Currently closed until further notice.
Trees and Fishes Angler’s Retreat Vanuatu: Minimal damage to some lodges in the resort.
The Havannah: The road to the resort has been severely damaged. Resort itself sustained significant damage. Initial reports indicate the resort will be closed for two months.
Warwick Le Lagon Resort and Spa: Some damage sustained by resort, total impact not yet confirmed.
Benjor Beach Club: Sustained minor damage to resort. Will remain closed for one month.
Poppy’s on the Lagoon: No structural damage. Open for business.
Vila 25: Sustained minimal damage. Open for business.
The Melanesian Port Vila: No major damage but no power. Hotel is accommodating aid workers over the coming weeks. Cancellation fees will be waived.
Moorings Hotel Port Vila: No major damage but no power. Some inconvenience to new guests in the coming weeks.
Tropicana Lagoon Resort: Restaurant has been lost but resort and accommodation intact. Fully booked with aid workers. Rooms are self-contained so lack of restaurant is only small inconvenience. Open for business once power is restored.
Coco Beach Resort: Accommodation intact with damage sustained to restaurant. Hoping to have the kitchen fixed by end of week and will be open for business once power is restored.
Erakor Island Resort and Spa: Minimal damage. Resort expecting to be re-open soon.
Iririki Island Resort: Minimal damage to some bungalows and gardens. Closed until 31 March, 2015.
Eratap Beach Resort: Accommodation intact with only minimal damage to the restaurant and vegetation. The resort will be closed until 26 April, 2015 to clean up.
Breakas Beach Resort: Initial reports indicate that Breakas Beach Resort sustained significant damage and will be closed for three weeks while they repair the damage.
Hideaway Island Resort: No structural damage but there is superficial damage to the beach, vegetation and there is currently no water. The resort will be closed until 23 March, 2015. There will be no cancellation/no-show fees charged for this time period. Hideaway will reassess the situation in the coming week and confirm when the resort will be fully operational again.
The Grand Hotel and Casino: There has been some damage to rooms in the hotel and the Hemisphere VIP room is out of action for the time-being. Due to demand from humanitarian organisations involved in the restoration of services and facilities post Cyclone Pam and the need to do a full damage assessment and follow up repairs, The Grand hotel and Casino will not be able to honour any existing or new bookings from now up to 30 April, 2015 only.
Sunset Bungalows: Sustained some damage. Guests moved to Chantilly’s on the Bay. Chantilly’s on the Bay: Small amount of damage. Wharf has been washed away.
The Terraces: Minor ceiling damage to the reception. Open for business. Mangoes Resort: Sustained minimal damage. Open for business.
Vale Vale Beachfront Villas: Minimal damage to resort and repairs will be made as soon as power is restored. Open for business.
Coconut Palms Resort: Sustained minimal damage and will be closed for up to three weeks.
Mariner Apartments: Sustained minimal damage – more information to come.
Espiritu Santo Properties
Bokissa Private Island Resort: No structural damage.
Oyster Island Resort: Minimal damage. Resort has power and is open.
Barrier Beach House: Minor damage.
Ratua Private Island: Minimal damage. The resort will not be accepting any arrivals on or before 27 March, 2015. For any guests travelling in this period they will waiver any cancellation fees. The resort is currently assessing the situation for those travelling after 27 March, 2015 although they envisage the resort to be operational by then.
Village de Santo: Open for business.
Moyyan House by the Sea: No damage. Operating as normal.
As the clean-up continues, VTO is encouraging travellers to consider one of the nation’s most beautiful outer islands, Espiritu Santo, for their holiday after it escaped relatively unscathed by the storm.
“Espiritu Santo is known for Champagne Beach, one of the world’s most beautiful, white sand beaches, turquoise blue holes, impressive scuba diving sites and friendly people,” Anderson said.
“Reports from the island state that resorts sustained very minimal damage and are open for business.
“Air Vanuatu runs direct flights from Brisbane to Espiritu Santo once weekly and some domestic flights from Port Vila to Espiritu Santo are now up and running again,” she said.
For more updates, click here.
The above update is correct as at 18/03/15 10:30am AEDT.