Melbourne–Noumea flights to start, as New Caledonia gets serious about tourism


New Caledonia’s tourism industry finally seems intent on fulfilling its tremendous potential, as new high-end properties open and direct flights to Melbourne are launched.

aeroplane_aircalinThe new service by national airline Aircalin will commence on 6 June 2014, initially with two flights per week (Tuesday/Friday), increasing to three in October. Aircalin already operates regular flights from Noumea to Sydney and Brisbane.

Melanesian New Caledonia has a similar climate to Australia’s Gold Coast, so should prove a popular winter destination with Victorians. But it offers so much more than its temperate climate, as travel agents attending an event in Melbourne last week were told.

Celebrity chef Gabriel Gaté, formerly a ‘Food Ambassador’ for the French-speaking territory, explained that New Caledonia’s point of difference was being an authentically French island in a Pacific setting, located close to Australia. The new Melbourne flight will take three and a half hours.

Barely 15,000 Australians currently visit New Caledonia each year—a tiny fraction of the million Australians who visit mainland France on the opposite side of the world.

One reason has simply been a lack of development in the tourism sector.

That is about to change, with a spate of upscale properties opening. New Caledonia’s GLP Hotels, which hosted the Melbourne gathering, has recently opened the Hilton Noumea La Promenade apartment hotel in Noumea, as well as the Escapade Island Resort just off Noumea. GLP’s Sales Manager Julie Cassin said the latter boasts the closest over-water bungalows to Australia.

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On the west coast of New Caledonia’s main island, 164km north of Noumea, the Sheraton Bourail resort is due to open in July this year.

With 180 rooms, an 18-hole golf course and a spa, the hotel’s opening will be a major milestone for New Caledonia’s tourism sector. Furthermore, it is anticipated this will be just the first property in what will become New Caledonia’s first integrated resort development, similar to Denarau in Fiji.

The 5th edition of  Business Advantage New Caledonia, the territory’s official business and investment guide, will be published by Business Advantage International in June 2014.


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