Limited air capacity has prompted the organisers of Vanuatu’s annual trade show, Tok Tok, to postpone the event until November, less than two weeks before it was scheduled to take place.
The event's deferral comes as Air Vanuatu's Boeing 737-800 aircraft undergoes maintenance in Singapore until early September.
Although the maintenance was planned, both the airline and the Vanuatu Tourism Office had hoped smaller chartered aircraft covering its operations would be able to meet the trade show’s aviation requirements.
However, Air Vanuatu general manager Australia and New Zealand, Malcolm Pryor, told Travel Today that passenger demand has exceeded its initial expectations.
“When we did our passenger forecasts, we thought would be able to accommodate the Tok Tok delegates using the smaller aircraft, but commercial demand has been higher than anticipated,” he said.
“We’ve seen by the first few services operated by our charter plane that we can satisfy commercial demand but we won’t be able to service all of the Tok Tok delegates as planned so we would rather defer.”
VTO general manager Linda Kalpoi agreed that it had been a “hard decision” to postpone the show.
“But we had no other option considering the timing of the maintenance and the impact it would have on Tok Tok,” she said.
Meanwhile, VTO’s Australian representative Anne Morris was confident the postponement would not affect attending buyer’s perceptions of Vanuatu and its national carrier.
“It’s obviously something that can’t be helped and it’s good that it will still go ahead ,” she told Travel Today.
Pryor echoed her sentiment, expecting people that work within the industry will understand that these things happen “from time to time.”
The event, originally scheduled for August 27 to 30, will now take place from November 12 to 15.