This website started in late 2003 and Nguna was the first island I visited. At that time there were three bungalows on the island: Vat-Vaka, Nakie and Siloa. Now there are eight in 2010 plus three on neighbouring Pele island and one on Emao.
Some of the bungalows on Nguna have been successful (Vat-Vaka comes to mind) and this encouraged others to have a go at tourism. Broadly, I would think that tourism has been positive for Nguna:
- Ni-Vanuatu families are running their own business on their own land.
- Tourism provides an additional income stream and people are not forced to go to Port Vila and accept a minimum wage job. All of the profits (and losses) go direct to the bungalow owners.
- In many cases mamas are running things. Nguna women are quite industrious and I hope they get a fair share of the profits for their work.
- People gain hands-on experience in running a business. I believe in letting people learn for themselves. Enuff wokshop nao ia!
On the other hand, I wonder how many bungalows are needed on Nguna and how many of those present are healthy businesses. Can tourism create competition and conflicts within communities? Jealousy? Are visitors still treated as welcome guests or sometimes a cash cow to be milked?
By putting Nguna on the internet, I think that Vanuatu Aelan Walkabaot has helped develop tourism on north Efate. If you're in Vila, pop over to north Efate and check it out. Tell us what you think and leave a comment below. Has tourism worked?