Go to contents

Vanuatu Presents Keys to Achieving Happiness

Posted May. 20, 2009 03:05,   


“Are you asking why the Vanuatu people are happy? Because we don’t have strong affection for physical things, live a simple and humble life, and always respect each other.”

The Republic of Vanuatu ranked at the top of a 2006 survey of 178 countries in the national happy planet index by the New Economics Foundation of Britain (Korea ranked 102).

Vanuatu is a small archipelago with an estimated population of 200,000 on around 80 islands and islets scattered in the South Pacific around 2,500 kilometers northeast of Sydney, Australia.

George Borugu, 52, head of the Vanuatu tourism board, arrived in Korea yesterday to attend the Universities of Culture and Arts in the World Education international symposium in Yeongwol County, Gangwon Province.

Asked why the Vanuatu people are so happy, he said, “It’s difficult for people living in economically prosperous nations to understand, but they’ll learn a bit if they visit the country and feel.”

Only seven percent of the Vanuatu people are employed, with most jobs in tourism. The country is one of the poorest nations in the South Pacific with a per capita GDP of 2,900 U.S. dollars, ranking 207th of 233 countries worldwide. Most people make a living through fishing there.

On the rise of suicides in Korea, Borugu said, “Nobody committed suicide in Vanuatu over the past five to six years, but one did so recently. People greatly depend on village communities on each island led by tribal leaders and seniors.”