Banks Islands

Banks Islands – a group of islands in northern Vanuatu. Together with the islands of Torres in the north-west to form the most northernmost province of the country – Bag. In 1979, the island population of 4,614. Autochtoniczni inhabitants of the islands belong to the group and say austronesian fifteen languages, most of which are threatened. The largest number (1800 persons) Mwotlap people use language.

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Curiosity

* In Vanuatu chaffer is a sign of a lack of respect for the seller.
* In accordance with local practice, before entering the territory of one tribe leader must ask for permission, which may be associated with a symbolic fee.
* On Vanuatu born extreme sport bungee. Tubylcom was known from hundreds of years as a religious rite.
* On the island of Maewo practiced the art of doing tattoos called tatau.
* Islands of Vanuatu was devoted several episodes of the program by Wojciech Cejrowskiego Boso world.

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Economy

The economy is based primarily on subsistence or small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for 65% of the population. Especially production of copra and kava create a major revenue. At present, kava cultivation even brings in so much money for villagers that they are abandoning cultivation of food crops. Instead, they cultivate kava and use the earnings gained from it to buy food.[5] Cattle farming, offshore financial services (being a tax haven), and tourism (with about 50,000 visitors in 1997) are other mainstays of the economy. Mineral deposits and Fishing creates only negligible revenue. The country has no known petroleum deposits. A small light-industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties and a 12.5 percent VAT on goods and services. Economic development is hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, and long distances between constituent islands and from main markets.

A severe earthquake in November 1999, followed by a tsunami, caused extensive damage to the northern island of Pentecote, leaving thousands homeless. Another powerful earthquake in January 2002 caused extensive damage in the capital, Port Vila, and surrounding areas, and was also followed by a tsunami. Another earthquake of 7.2 struck on 2 August 2007.

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Administrative divisions

Vanuatu has been divided into six provinces since 1994. The names in English of all provinces are derived from the initial letters of their constituent islands:

  1. Malampa (Malakula, Ambrym, Paama)
  2. Penama (Pentecost, Ambae, Maewo – in French: Pénama)
  3. Sanma (Santo, Malo)
  4. Shefa (Shepherds group, Efate – in French: Shéfa)
  5. Tafea (Tanna, Aniwa, Futuna, Erromango, Aneityum – in French: Taféa)
  6. Torba (Torres islands, Banks islands)

Provinces are autonomous units with their own popularly elected local parliaments known officially as provincial councils. They collect local taxes and make by-laws in local matters like tourism, the provincial budget or the provision of some basic services. They are headed by a chairman elected from among the members of the local parliaments and assisted by a secretary appointed by the Public Service Commission. Their executive arm consists of a provincial government headed by an executive officer who is appointed by the Prime Minister with the advice of the minister of local government. The provincial government is usually formed by the party that has the majority in the provincial council and, like the national government, is advised in Ni-Vanuatu culture and language by the local council of chiefs. The provincial president is constitutionally a member of the electoral college that elects the President of Vanuatu.

The provinces are in turn divided into municipalities (usually consisting of an individual island) headed by a council and a mayor elected from among the members of the council.

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Geography

Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands, two of which—Matthew and Hunter—are also claimed by the French overseas department of New Caledonia. Of the 83 islands, 14 have surface areas of more than 100 square kilometres (38.6 sq mi). From largest to smallest: Espiritu Santo 3,956 km² (1,527 sq mi), Malakula 2,041 km² (788 sq mi), Efate (900 km²/350 sq mi), Erromango (888 km²/343 sq mi), Ambrym (678 km²/262 sq mi), Tanna (555 km²/214 sq mi), Pentecost (491 km²/190 sq mi), Epi (445 km²/172 sq mi), Ambae or Aoba (402 km²/155 sq mi), Vanua Lava (334 km²/129 sq mi), Gaua (328 km²/127 sq mi), Maewo (304 km²/117 sq mi), Malo (180 km²/70 sq mi), and Anatom or Aneityum (159 km²/65 sq mi).

Most of the islands are mountainous, of volcanic origin and have a tropical or sub-tropical climate. The nation’s largest towns are the capital Port Vila, situated on Efate, and Luganville on Espiritu Santo.[4] The highest point in Vanuatu is Mount Tabwemasana, at 1879 m (6158 ft), on the island of Espiritu Santo. There are several active volcanoes in Vanuatu, including Lopevi, as well as several underwater ones. Volcanic activity is common with an ever-present danger of a major eruption, the last occurred in 1945. Rainfall averages about 2,360 millimetres (93 in) per year but can be as high as 4,000 mm (157 in) in the northern islands.

Vanuatu is recognised as a distinct terrestrial ecoregion, known as the Vanuatu rain forests. It is part of the Australasia ecozone, which includes New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, Australia, New Guinea, and New Zealand.

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When to Go

Vanuatu is at its glorious best in the dry season from May to October. Expect clear, warm days with an average temperature of 23°C (73°F). For walking or trekking, narrow it down to the cold season, June to August, when water temperatures drop to 21°C and the air is cooler – not the best time to visit if you’re hoping to laze around on a beach. Summer is the wet season and brings warmer weather but it can be unpleasantly steamy, with the heaviest rains in January.

From April to June the islanders on Pentecost practise Naghol (land diving) to guarantee their yam harvest and from August to November the spectacular clan alliance dance, or Toka , is held on Tanna (check with the tourist office for the current dates). School holiday periods are busy, so flights, especially to Vanuatu’s outer islands, need to be booked as far in advance as possible.

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Port Vila

Port Vila is the capital city of Vanuatu. It is also Vanuatu’s largest city. Situated on the south coast of the island of Efate, in Shefa Province, the city population at last census (1999) was 29,356,[1] an increase of 55% on the previous census result (1989). This suggests a 2007 population of about 40,000 or around 65% of the province’s population. Port Vila is the economic and commercial centre of Vanuatu.

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