Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Don't miss a memorable Christmas! Come to Vanuatu.

VTO Business Plan Review Workshop

Mr Ross and members of VTO Board and staff during workshop
Last week on Friday 7th December 2012, the Board and staff of Vanuatu Tourism Office attended a workshop on VTO Business Plan Review which was facilitated by Mr Ross Hopkins of Trip Consultants commissioned by SPTO and funded by the EDF10 Tourism project, at the Melanesian Hotel.  During the full day session, which consisted of presentation and discussion, the following topics were addressed which the group talked about: travel groups and booking methods, Vanuatu accommodation occupancy rate, VTO budget breakdown 2012, existing marketing methods and strategies, VTO Mission statement, VTO goals & company structure, Target markets Conferences and Incentives, Seasonality, and Technical Assistance Requirements. The VTO was very fortunate to also have Mr John Yacoumis, the SPTO EDF 10 Project Manager who was present to share his experience & wealth of knowledge working with regional tourism organizations around the world.  The VTO General Manager, Ms Linda Kalpoi comments, “VTO has managed to turn the visitor arrivals around with the destination enjoying a 16% increase and ending with a record year 2013. It is now time to review the organization transforming it from the traditional structure & plans to the new digital global approach.”

Travel agents just can't get enough of Vanuatu

Tanna group on the way to Friendly Bungalows – from left to right: James Sheppard, Discover Travel & Cruise Brisbane; Kushala Shetty, Travel Managers; Ann Griffin, Harvey World Bathurst; Graham Scott, Integrity Travel; Adam Pamula, Flight Centre; Garry Warren, Southside World Travel.
Vanuatu Tourism office hosted 13 agents from Brisbane and Sydney areas in Vanuatu last week. These agents were picked as lucky winners follow the successful completion of the Vanuatu online training launched with Your Workshops this year.  Agents undertook tours on the main island of Efate in and around Port Vila and then split into two groups and experienced the outer islands of Tanna and Espiritu Santo.  The agents in Tanna experienced one of the world’s most accessible volcanoes, Mount Yasur and the traditional customs of the island. The agents in Espiritu Santo (pictured on one of Santo’s beaches) visited pristine islands and properties and also the mainland of Santo and visited its Blue Holes and white sandy beaches, including Champagne Beach. Australian agents should contact  for more information about Vanuatu training programmes and famils.  Visit

Vanuatu partakes in Regional Tourism & Hospitality Human Resources Development Plan Workshop

Workshop participants.

The South Pacific Tourism Organization under the Pacific Regional Tourism Capacity Building Programme (PRTCBP) coordinated and facilitated a one day workshop in the heart of Western Samoa, Apia on the 05th of December 2012 for the development of a Regional Tourism and Hospitality Human Resources Development Plan.  The workshop gathered all members of the Pacific region who are members of the SPTO to contribute to this HRD plan for the tourism sector for the Pacific. Mrs. Sonja Hunter, head of the Samoa Tourism Authority welcomed everyone from across the Pacific and provided words of encouragement for all to see how important the tourism sector is to their small island economies.  The workshop was officially opened by the Acting Prime Minister of Samoa, Honourable Afioga Nuafesili Fonotoe P. Lauofo who made special remarks on the sustainability of this growing sector throughout the Pacific. He stressed that the relevance of this HRD plan will assist the Pacific Islands nations for building a stronger tourism sector that is sustainable and that considers environmental issues that are currently facing the countries as well.  The workshop was presented by Mr. Simon Milne from the New Zealand Research Institute and Dr. Semisi Taumoepeau from AIS St Helens in New Zealand.  Mrs. Adela Aru from the Department of Tourism and Mr. Kevin Tabi from the Vanuatu Institute of Technology represented the Vanuatu delegation and provided relevant input into the workshop for ensuring that Vanuatu benefits from the 6 programs identified in the formulation of the plan. 2 key programs that will use Vanuatu as the role model is the Cruise Preparedness Program and the Chinese Expectations and Culture Program. Mr.Filipe Tuisawau, HRD Specialist for the SPTO who manages this activity under this project acknowledged the contributions provided by all stakeholders and further provided compliments to the European Union for providing financial support for the Pacific countries through the SPTO. 

Havannah again finalist in top awards

Source The Independent, 8th December: The Havannah Resort in north Efqate has again been named a finalist in the prestigious Conde Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence. Conde Nast Johansens, the international luxury travel guide, annoucned the winners of the  2013 Awards for Excellence, with those winners chosen as the  top properties within their regions. This year The Havannah was named as finalist for Most Excellent Romantic Hideaway and Most Excellent Small Resort in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific Islands. Travel experts said this is a major achievement for The Havannah as the only Vanuatu  property featured and one of only two in the entire Pacific region. They said it is even more commendable when The Havannah competed against resorts in the Caribbean, given the size and investment in these properties.  Lesley O’Malley-Keyes, vice President and publishing director, the Americas said the Awards for Excellence winners represent the ‘very best of the best’.  “Our readers are discerning and experienced  travellers who know what they want when they travel – exceptional accommodation, outstanding services and good value for money,” he said. “Conde Nast Johansens only recommends properties that meet these very specific standards.” The Havannah’s General Manager Frederick MacLean said the staff at the Havannah have worked exceptionally well. “They are all to be commended for our nomination in two categories, as to be finalist globally is still an outstanding achievement that we can all be proud of,” he said. “Now we need to work smarter to be the winner in one if not two categories next year.” He said The Havannah is one of Vanuatu’s newest boutique retreats – ‘a place where romance meets affordable luxury.’ “It combines a breathtaking beachfront location with luxurious comfort to create the ultimate romantic and secluded resort experience,” he said. “Offering just 16 superbly appointed individual bungalows, some with their own plunge pool, a stunning infinity edge swimming pool with  suspended day beds and superb service with exquisite cuisine. The Havannah is an oasis of relaxation, cultural experiences and soft adventure.”

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Maskelyne Island Eco Tourism Association News

Maskelyne Island Eco Tourism Association have been working very hard and have achieved some really good results seeing number of visitors to this remote island this year increased. The association was established in 2010 involving grassroots community organised comprised of stakeholders and community leaders and customary landowners from four different villages in the island group.
They strongly enhance service delivery and promote Maskelyne as a great tourism destination. 

For more information on tours and accommodation please go to 

With the assistance of an Australian volunteer Ms Ebony Fieh ( AYAD Volunteer) the association have been able to produce brochures, t-shirts, post cards as source of promotional materials. 

TVET has  come in and conducted training for  the local tour guides this means tourist can purchase Maskelyne postcards during their stay on the islands.  

The Maskelyne Island Eco Tourism Association have also developed water safety training on look out for harmful sea creatures and  warn tourists to distance them from. Safety and tour checklist for tour guides are part of the training developments.

Ebony has  created a standard  3 Days  Canoe Tour itinerary for tourist wishing to visit. Menu consist of fresh seafood everyday. A giant clam garden at Gaspard Bay. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What ticks at the Vanuatu Hospitality and Tourism School

By Alcina Charlie, VTO Senior Communications: On Monday this week, I was invited by a student of the Vanuatu School of Tourism and Hospitality, Jim Talivo, to be a guest in his practical exam. When asked exactly what I was to do, Jim replied “Just turn up and I will serve you lunch while my supervisors and examiners mark me in various categories”. Jim is a family relation but I saw the offer as an excellent opportunity to also write news on the Vanuatu Tourism School’s latest developments. I made contact with Mr Johnny Garae, Head Of Vanuatu school of Hospitality & Tourism, and arrived at the school as planned. The institution’s front house lobby had a touch of boutique with a comfortable lounge, a vase on the counter with fresh flowers and gingers which accompanied the receptionist’s smile and her meet & greet. I was warmly welcomed. Immediately, Mr Garae came to see me and we got on with the interview in the lobby. I was briefed on the school’s developments and the practical exams that the students have been going through and will complete next week. Approximately, there are 130 students going through their practical exams in the following areas: kitchen, restaurant, and house-keeping. This week was allocated for the kitchen students, which I was fortunate to watch them briefly prepare lunch whilst examiners observed and kept a good look out. They were marking the students in various categories and their performance.
When I asked how long the courses run for, Mr Garae replied “Our school courses run for 13 months, including 12 weeks of work experience in the hotels, resorts and tour companies”, he continued, “Overall 30% of what the students learn is in theory, and 70% is practical to examine and monitor student’s competence in the work place.”
The practical courses cover 5-6 modules for Certificate 1 and 2. APTC, which is a sister school to the Vanuatu Tourism School, offers Certificate 3  but students need to graduate with Vanuatu Hospitality & Tourism school’s Certificate 1 &2 before they can continue onto Certificate 3 course offered by APTC.
The Vanuatu Tourism School was originally funded by European Union in 2006 under a five year contract. The contract ended in December last year and the school is currently under VIT through TVET supported via the school’s short courses, functions, and events as supplementary.
A major event that the school hosted was the Africa Caribbean Pacific opening cocktail in June, plus few events hosted by various Ministers and Government reps. The school is very popular with resorts and hotels that have frequently asked the school for their student waiters and waitresses.
Mr Garae commented, “As years pass, I see that more and more students are applying for our courses and entering into Tourism and Hospitality. The passion has grown much more than a few years back and I realize that industry demands for my students including tour companies, caterers, and event organizers, have increased”.
Mr Garae beamed with pride and said, “I know many of graduates, within their 3 years of working in hotels, resorts and tour companies, they are getting promoted into supervisor and manager roles, which I’m very proud of.” 
Mr Garae furthered, “This school also trains outer islands intakes through an MOU signed between the school and VODKA last year, so we are not only helping students based here in Vila but also the provinces which benefit the entire country and boosts capacities in tourism and hospitality throughout all our islands.”
After the interview, my morning ended nicely with a delicious lunch that was beautifully presented, followed by a brief chat with Jim. Jim has enjoyed his exam and 12 month courses which he went through learning waitering, bar tender, cashier register, and hosting. The 19 year old student is looking forward to his graduation next year in March and eventually hopes to work in the cruise ships after a few years or so in a resort, a humble answer to ensuring that a father remains proud of his son’s achievement so his investment does not go to waste.
Jim ends with, “I’m only young but I want to take my life seriously and strive to work to my best so I can be successful now and in the future. This is the only way my family can prosper and have a better life.”
The VTO congratulates & acknowledges Mr Johnny Garae and his team at the Vanuatu Hospitality and Tourism School, for their outstanding efforts in building the necessary skills required in the field of hospitality and tourism. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

VTO witnesses Carnival Spirit maiden arrival

Beautiful and majestic, sailing into the harbour.
Carnival about to moor off at Star Wharf.  
Vanuatu achieved another milestone when its biggest cruise ship ever, carrying over 2500 passengers onboard, majestically cruised into Port Vila 6.45am today. The crew and passengers were welcomed with an array of activities from cultural dances, tropical refreshments, and cocktails to celebrate the special occasion.

VTO visits Vila’s newest accommodation Paray Lodge

Ms Liliu, in pink dress, with VTO & DOT staff.
By Brenda Andre, VTO Senior Information Officer: On Monday 29th October, staffs of both Department of Tourism and Vanuatu Tourism Office dropped by at a new accommodation, Paray Lodge, located at Nambatu Area opposite FR8 Logistics. Paray Lodge is Port Vila’s newest accommodation providing quality services at affordable prices which includes short term rentals, long term rentals, a communal living room with TV& DVD, a kitchen fully self-catered, laundry services, wireless, and phone. Rooms vary from single, double and dormitory with bathroom toilet ensuite. Room rates include breakfast. Paray Lodge is conveniently perched in a nice quiet area not far from the main road with plenty of access to buses and taxis, just a ten minute walk to town and next to Au Bon Marche Super market plus other shops. 

Paray offers accommodation for both locals and tourists alike all at an affordable price with great customer service. Staffs were impressed by the new product and encouraged the local Ni-Vanuatu Managing Director, Ms Joana Liliu, to affiliate with the existing tourism associations and meet industry hoteliers and operators to network and be kept in the loop on the developments within the industry in order to appreciate the benefits. Mrs Liliu was excited to announce that bookings have already come through prior to the lodge’s official opening ceremony which will take place soon. To book or for more information, email . Phone +678 26289. 

Nigel Marsh wows all with Coolidge underwater shots

Last week, the VTO and the Australian office hosted some media from Australia to report on the 70th anniversary of the President Coolidge in Santo. Nigel Marsh is writing for Sport Diver magazine and Sheriden Rhodes for Sun Herald and NZ Herald on Sunday. The journalists dived the Coolidge and other dive sites in Santo and also undertook tours around the island thanks to our industry in Espiritu Santo. On the left, was one of the many photos Marsh shot during the Coolidge dive.

Santo Discovery Tours opens tour shop in Luganville

Ms Barthelemy Marie-Helene, pictured left, the Managing Director of Santo Discovery Tours has opened a new tour shop in Luganville town, at Espiritu Santo. The tour office, which opened on 23rd October, is conveniently located in town to welcome walk ins and is the central booking station for Santo Discovery Tours. The tour company started in 2005 by Ms Marie Helen who is an indigenous from Port Olry, Espiritu Santo. She has been in tourism and runs as a tour operator for over seven years and has participated in several trade fairs in New Caledonia as well as Tok Tok Vanuatu. Santo Discovery Tours also provides airport transfers, and is soon to embark on inbound promoting outer island services also. For more information, call Ms Marie Helene on +678 77 44644 or +678 5352836, email Visit

Malampa Tourism announces new tours & packages

Malampa Tourism and Call Centre are excited to announce 2 new eco cultural and historical tour products in Malekula that have been combined together in a variety of packages creating an authentic adventure in the heart of Malampa province. The tours are “Dog’s Head Walk” and “Historical Site Tour at Wala Island”. Guides of both tour products have undergone a week of extensive training under the TVET program conducted by Mr Pascal Guillet from Eco Tours and same time TVET Tourism Consultant, pictured left. The training took place on the week of 17th September, resulting to 3 new tour packages that combine the includes the following: Small Nambas & Dog’s Head Walk Package 4days/3nights, Dog’s Head Walk & Pialo Cave Package 4D / 3N, Small Nambas & Dog’s Head Walk including Pialo Cave Package 5D/4N. The VTO acknowledges Malampa Tourism, Call Centre, and TVET for their work and support towards promoting tourism in Malampa province. Visit for more details.

The Living Room promotes Tanna

The Living Room – Tanna Vanuatu segment aired last week on Friday night, on ABC Channel 10 with approximately 500,000 viewers watching the show hosted by presenter Chris Brown. The VTO would like to thank all who participated and assisted towards The Living Room shooting. To watch the Santo segment click on which will be aired soon. 

Link to Tanna photo library and factsheet:

On Barre Tanna

Blandine Guillet writes about her newly found love: Vanuatu! The article is in French as she sends a note to the VTO to say that Vanuatu has captured her heart. 

Read her story here.

Former Lonely Planet writer launches Vanuatu Adventures

Ms Jocelyn Harewood who used to write the Lonely Planet guidebook for Vanuatu, has released a new book which she hopes will inspire people to visit Vanuatu. Her book is called Vanuatu Adventures: Chaos and Kava in the South Pacific. The book can be downloaded on The Vanuatu Tourism Office acknowledges Ms Harewood for her continuous support over the years in promoting Vanuatu in Lonely Planet, and now in Vanuatu Adventures: Kava and Chaos in the South Pacific.

Vanuatu Fiera: Tok Tok a favourite

Giorgio Domini, one of the buyers from Italy, who came to Tok Tok this year in August, had an experience of his life which he beautifully pieced together in a promotional flyer on Vanuatu Fiera or Vanuatu trade fair favorite. 

His story is written in Italian with images of a thousand words, just seemingly priceless. 

View his article here.

Coral Quays Fish & Dive Resort – Absolute Adventures

Diving stunning virgin reefs around Santo. Running out of Coral Quays Fish & Dive Resort the virgin reefs of south Santo are now easily accessible and are the newest dive sites to be discovered in the area. With small groups of divers (1-4) this is diving Santo at its best. Coral Quays Fish & Dive Resort – Absolute Adventures SSI dive facility has opened up scuba diving on stunning virgin reefs  in the south Santo region , many of these offshore reefs have never been dived prior to Absolute Adventures.  Read more.

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Dog's Head Walk, Malekula

Coast to coast gentle walk through the Dog's Head in Northern Malekula island. A 2-days walk from the North East coast to the West.  As described in Lonely Planet, you walk across the rugged dog's head from the small nambas territory to the Big Nambas territory. 

Read more.

When you think of accommodation and flights think of us! We've got thousands of options across the globe. Why not, when you can Wotif? sells accommodation online in 66 countries.  Read more.

Historical Site Tour at Wala Island

“It’s a one life time experience, what you will see today, could not be seen anywhere in the world". Your personal guide will safely paddle you across to Walla by traditional outrigger canoe (if sea condition permitted, or by outboat motor). Arriving on the white sandy beach, the guide will introduce you to the local life style.  A walk through the island takes you past the ancient historical sites where there are pig-counting rocks, which are set in lines on the ground to keep a tally as they’re killed. Read more.

Devils Point Superstage fires up

Media release: Rallying in Vanuatu has always been a spectacular event, from the Famous “Rallye des 1000 vaches “ in the 70’s and 80’s where the competing cars where modified and build to African Safari Standards, long 3 days events, on rough farm lands, with night stages, to the recently build “Devils Point Superstage”, a customised 2.5km run in two laps ( 5kms ) where 2 cars compete side by side against the clock. This Superstage was built at Pangona ( also known as Devil’s Point ) on Rene Laurent Farm, by a handful of passionate that dedicate all their spare time to this sport. The effort put together saw the Superstage completed in just over 6 months, a wide and smooth gravel compacted surface that sets hard overtime to a finish close to Tarmac. 12 is the number of cars that usually take the start of the rallys, with a variety of old rear wheel drive atmospheric cars ( historical, but lots of fun to drive being sideways in every corners) to near top of the range Subaru Impreza 2004 Sti Turbo Charged 4WD Rally car. The next event will take part on 15 and 16th December at Devil’s Point, still time for those of you that what to join to contact the local Car Club called Automobile Club de Port-Vila (ACPV) by emailing Natacha on ( ) and for those of you who will be in Vanuatu at that time, come and check-it out, its lot of fun for spectators too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

VTO, Evergreen Tours, and AIP attend Chinese seminar

VTO & industry operators receive Certificates. Left to right: August Daniel (Adventures in Paradise),Brenda Andre (Vanuatu Tourism Office), and Morris Tamara (Evergreen Ltd).

Group outing.

By Brenda Andre, VTO Senior Information Officer: A team of 20 participants from Vanuatu departed on Monday 27th August 2012 to participate in a 50 days seminar in China funded by the People’s Republic of China Ministry of Commerce. Team Vanuatu represented various government departments and private sectors from Immigration Department, Customs and Inland Revenue, Department of Livestock and Quarantine, Translation Department, Vanuatu Tourism Office, Department of Cooperative and Rural Development, Department of Foreign Affairs, Air Vanuatu, Adventures in Paradise, Airports Vanuatu Ltd, Evergreen Ltd. The seminar targets developing countries with much recognition and support from both Chinese and Foreign governments encouraging friendship through cultural exchange between China and developing countries. The full program consisted of lectures, meetings, discussions and sightseeing. Lectures were on People’s Republic of China, Chinese Food Culture, Chinese History, and Comprehensive Chinese and Oral Chinese. In addition to the courses, the group also learned and practised speaking in basic mandarin or Chinese language, they learned how to tie the Chinese knot, do Chinese paper – cutting, Calligraphy and Tai Chi. Meetings took place in Beijing, Chengdu, Xian, and Tianjin. The group also visited top universities, companies and Government departments and sections. The group toured the Great Wall of China, the temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, Hutong tour, Chengdu Research Base of Panda Breeding, and Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian. The visits were an eye opening experience that showcased the beauty of Chinese culture and nature especially the mountains, rivers, and gardens. The main objective for participants was to learn and be able to speak basic mandarin so communication with Chinese guests, tourists, and business colleagues is made easier. The Vanuatu Tourism Office acknowledges the support of the Chinese Embassy and we look forward to maintaining ties. 

Evergreen Tours turn 13 and aims for excellence assisted by Warwick Le Lagon

Evergreen Management and Staff photographed with Mr Rasake (front, centre).

Warwick Le Lagon Resort not only put a smile on the faces of 40 or so staffers of Evergreen Tours including VTO’s Senior Communications Officer Ms Alcina Charlie, for the fine set up in the ballroom, but it also highlighted Evergreen’s anniversary with an invaluable presentation on TOP customer service, presented by Warwick’s Regional Human Resources Director, Mr Uraia R Rasake. With Rasake’s over 30 years of experience in hospitality, Evergreen’s heads of departments, administrators, supervisors, tour guides, and drivers, were fortunate to be presented on how to give tourists that special holiday experience and encourage multiple return visits. Mr Rasake who calls Vanuatu his 2nd home as he grew up in Port Vila and went to school at Malapoa College, from his experience in working with Sheraton and now Warwick, said, “It comes from our character. It’s extremely vital for us front-liners to have good character to enable us to connect to our friends from overseas.” Mr Rasake continued by highlighting, “Positive attitudes, create positive character, a person with that positive character takes ownership of caring for their guests needs, going that extra mile, to making sure that a guest never leaves the country with a bad experience because it will damage not only the resort’s or tour’s reputation, but the country.” Furthermore, he continued, “If tourists continue to receive poor service and bad experience, this can drop tourist stats. But if everyone worked together to turn an industry around and build on positive character, customer service will reach excellence in all areas within hospitality and the tourism industry, increasing tourist arrival stats which will immensely boost the economy.” The Managing Director of Evergreen Tours, Mr Philip Malas thanked Mr Rasake, saying that it had been a fantastic experience for all Management & Evergreen staff to be inspired for excellence in all areas within the company. The Vanuatu Tourism Office sincerely thanks Mr Rasake for his invaluable contribution towards empowering the industry to continuously smile, and work together to aim for top customer service. We look forward to welcoming Mr Rasake back for another session soon.  

Barista & Salon Culinaire 29th October to 2nd November 2012

The international portion of the barista competition will be held on Friday 2nd of November alongside the Salon Culinaire which runs from the 29th of October through the 2nd of November at Chantilly's. The barista competition will run from 9:00 am to 1:00pm. The top five competitors from the domestic completion held in May, and all other registrants will be competing. Each competitor has to make four espressos, four cappuccinos and four specialty coffees in 15 minutes. After the events, there will be a recap on Saturday November 3rd at Nambanga Restaurant. The Barista committee are seeking volunteer judges. Interested persons can send an email to . The organizers continue to have judges training and competitor practice on Fridays at Nambanga restaurant from 9:00am to 11:00am.

Charity garage sale raises $5000 for Vanuatu library

Organizers at the Garage Sale.
For release, 24th October 2012: A monster garage sale held in Cammeray last Saturday attracted hundreds of bargain hunters and raised more than $5000 to educate children in Vanuatu. Watch the video of the garage sale here. The charity’s founder declared the annual event a huge success, just weeks before digging begins on a new library for the island nation. “Everybody in the whole lower North Shore has really got behind us,” Founder of Jump Start Foundation Heidi Dening said. “There are a lot of bad things that happen in the world. [But] then you have days when you know how many good people will do anything just to help out.” Heidi, who runs Jump Start Personal Training in Cammeray started the charity after working in Vanuatu as a physical education and health teacher.  “In Vanuatu [children] have a very low literacy level so we’re building a library in a very remote area,” she said.“We’ll be stocking it with appropriate books for the children, paying a local teacher to look after the library and teach the kids how to improve their literacy levels. Two Men And A Truck assisted with Saturday’s event, with the company dedicating a truck and two removalists to prepare for the garage sale. “They arrived with a massive truckload full of goods that people from all around Sydney have donated,” Heidi said. “When we started doing this annual garage sale Two Men And A Truck put their hand up straight away to offer their services.” The removals company in St Leonards has also done charity work for The Salvation Army, Make a Wish Foundation and recently sponsored the Anne Frank Exhibition in Australia. Founder Richard Kuipers even travelled to Vanuatu to participate in Jump Start Foundation’s 140 km Vanuatu Island Relay. Two Men And A Truck’s Chief Operations Officer Catherine Gambrellis said the company’s involvement with charities gives employees the sense of being able to give back to the community. “I think people respond to companies that are more socially aware and like to give back,” she said. To enquire about any of our services, call our friendly team on 1300 880 412. For any media enquiries email . Visit our website

New for 2013 - Vanuatu Drive Out Mothership by Ocean Blue

Most anglers dream of a remote tropical expedition offering world class sportfishing & untapped big fish potential. The central Vanuatu islands & surrounding waters are rich habitats that have been ‘just out of reach’ until now. With a focus on popping & jigging for the biggest of reef dwellers, such as XOS dogtooth tuna, GT’s, monster coral trout, wahoo and much more, we now have all the ingredients to make this fishery accessible, and comfortable. 
Read more.

Evergreen Tours industry acknowledgement

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

VTO announces new Korean Representative

VTO (Linda Kalpoi) and DTG Korea (Sae Yoon Kwon) stamp and seal the MOU.
Vanuatu has achieved its objective in attending the World Mini Expo in Yeosu Korea by establishing South Korea as a tourist source market.  To mark the occasion the VTO General Manager, Ms. Linda Kalpoi has signed an MOU with Mr. Sae Yoon Kwon, Director of DTG Korea to establish the framework for cooperatively marketing Vanuatu as tourist destination for the Korean people.  With the support of VTO, DGT Korea shall conduct various marketing activities within Korea to attract tourist to Vanuatu from the Korean market. Ms. Kalpoi states, “This is a very exciting period for Vanuatu Tourism in tapping into the Asian market and developing its presence in the long-haul emerging markets such as Korea and China. We have not only appealed to visitors but have also attracted investors to the country following on from Vanuatu’s participation at the Korea Expo”. Ms Kalpoi further comments, “In addition, Vanuatu has already seen two key wholesaler familiarization visits to Vanuatu from Korea along with two SBS TV Series filmed in Vanuatu that have raised the awareness of Vanuatu in the Korean market”.

Government endorses Kalpoi to lead Vanuatu in 2015 World Expo

Mrs Linda Kalpoi, VTO General Manager.
The Board, Management, and staff of the Vanuatu Tourism Office would like to congratulate the VTO General Manager, Mrs Linda Kalpoi, to again be Vanuatu’s Commissioner General in the next World Expo 2015, in Milano Italy. Due to positive results and strengthened diplomatic, business, and industry ties between Vanuatu and South Korea, presented in the Yeosu Expo report under the leadership of Commissioner General Kalpoi, the Government on Tuesday 16th October, endorsed Kalpoi to be Commissioner General in the next World Expo, Milan Italy. Tuesday 16th October marked the Yeosu Expo report handing over ceremony which took place at the seafront stage witnessed by Government officials, the Korean ambassador and community, stakeholders, members of the private sector, local media and the general public at large. The occasion celebrated the completion of all work related to Yeosu expo and dawned on strengthened relationships between Korea and Vanuatu. A presentation on the report by the Commissioner General, confirmed new contracts with three, and increasing, major wholesalers in South Korea to promote Vanuatu as a destination for Korean tourists and potential business opportunities for investors. Additionally, Evergreen Tours have reported a 40% increase of bookings from Korea since July of this year compared to 2011. Some of the highlights are facilitating discussions between Air Vanuatu and the Asiana Airline for possible co-sharing on the Korea-Vanuatu route, filming by SBS Korea TV on the “Law of the Jungle” and “Queen of the Jungle” series in Vanuatu, and a newly appointed VTO Representative in South Korea. Vanuatu’s aim to open up to new emerging markets and opportunities in Korea have been fruitful resulting to a successful Vanuatu National Day on the 30th July which saw 200 Korean wholesalers and travel agents attend a Vanuatu seminar. Negotiations on travel packages between stakeholders and inbound operators are currently taking place which should see numbers increase in the near future.

Healthy lifestyle and pottery - VTO visits Wan Smol Bag

WSB Nutrition House's lively bunch pose for a group photo.
On Thursday 11th October 2012, staff of both Vanuatu Tourism Office and the Department, visited Wan Small Bag Nutrition House which ended with a nutritious meal and a brief stop-over at WSB’s pottery studio. Arriving at the diners, the group was met by Ms Emma Walker who spoke about the importance of a having a balanced diet and regular exercises to prevent NCD’s or non-communicable diseases. After the talk, the group was led to a table and was served with a healthy lunch and nutritious fruit juice by WSB youths. After lunch, a brief stop over at the new pottery studio which is planned to become an art & craft centre by 2013 to invite tourists and locals alike to marvel & buy a range of beautiful potteries that the youths make. The VTO thanks Wan Smol Bag Management for the invitation and especially congratulates Management for the support towards promoting community health, and building youth skills and talents that encourage creativity through opportunities such as pottery, film projects, and other youth activities and entertainment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Toka-Time on Tanna

By Dianne Hambrook:  “If you get a chance to go to Toka, “ my friend Emily tells me, “grab it! Tourists usually only visit Tanna for the volcano, but this is the best cultural festival you’ll ever see in Vanuatu”. So now it’s Toka-time again and rumours abound. The Nekowiar Ceremony, to give it its official title, is held once every three or four years but nobody seems to know exactly when it’s going to happen. Dates and times change, are confirmed, change again. In the end we take a leap of faith, book our air tickets and go. Fortunately we have inside information. We’re staying at Iwaru Beach Bungalows, the accommodation closest to the village where the event will be held, and Philip, the owner of the bungalows, is the son of the chief. We’re lucky enough to get to see the preparatory stages of the festival; the temporary stalls and shelters being built, dancers practising, neighbouring villagers arriving with their gifts of live pigs and kava. There’s huge anticipation. Something very special is about to happen…

Air Vanuatu leases replacement ATR

15 October 2012: Don’t be surprised when you see an Air Tahiti ATR flying around Vanuatu next month – it will be here on loan to Air Vanuatu. Air Vanuatu’s ATR72-500 is due for it’s major service this year and will be out of action throughout the month of November.

“We’ve had a very busy year at Air Vanuatu, with increased passenger loads – particularly in our low seasons,” Chief Executive Officer Joseph Laloyer said. “We can’t afford not to have a similar size replacement aircraft during our ATR’s maintenance, so we have leased an Air Tahiti plane for the duration.” Mr. Laloyer said the Air Tahiti aircraft and crew will operate Air Vanuatu’s usual domestic and regional (Suva and Noumea) flights from 06 November. “We wanted to ensure there would be no disruption to our passengers during the maintenance period and as such, began an extensive search for a replacement ATR several months ago.”

Mr. Laloyer said leasing an aircraft, particularly the very popular ATR72 model was extremely difficult and quite costly. “We have leased the Air Tahiti aircraft for longer than the expected maintenance period of our ATR to ensure there will be no disruption to our schedule. “Our aircraft will be serviced by Malaysian Airlines in Kuala Lumpur and is due back at the end of November,” he said.

Media inquiries: Tiffany Carroll Tel +678 23838

Photo competition to mark Coolidge 70th Anniversary

Espiritu Santo Tourism Association is organizing a photo competition in the categories Espiritu Santo Land, Sea and People as a feature activity in the upcoming President Coolidge commemoration week which kicks off on Friday 19th of October and ends with a closing ceremony on 26th October which will be in conjunction with an Awards Night. 
View photo competition rules.
Sign up and take part in the competition. 

Entry fee per photo is 500vt. Deadline for all entries is on Thursday 25th October, 11.30am. Email Mayumi Green on for more information.

Vanuatu in the Raw - Get Lost feature - Malekula and Santo

Written by Catherine Best:  I’ve never been one for public displays of nudity but the ancient customs of Vanuatu have me entranced and Im fighting a compulsion to tear my clothes off, surrender my inhibitions to the island breeze and dance like it’s raining yams. All around me, villagers stomp, sway and chant to the beat of the tam-tam in a hypnotizing not of colour, movement and sound. 

Read more.

A day in the life of a Vanuatu village girl

Leah and Hannah are two tech savvy Australian schoolchildren who report on their travel adventures from an online blog.  They recently travelled to Vanuatu and reported on their time there.  In Vanuatu Leah and Hannah reported on a 'Day in the Life in a Vanuatu village' and followed one of the children from the Village of Pango and filmed the village and activities over one day.  Over 5,000 school children from Australia follow this blog and gain inspiration from the travels and learn about each destination. 

Please watch here: 

Vanuatu a kayaking cure – Vanuatu Ecotours

Source Travel Weekly, written by Anne Majumdar :  A serene kayak along an unspoilt river through the heart of Vanuatu’s rainforest – it sounded so good on paper. Only now it’s 8am and I’ve got a raging hangover – the absolute last thing I want to do is go kayaking. It’s hard enough just getting out of bed, but somehow I manage it. 

The weather reflects my mood, a little grey and damp – but the clouds seem to be holding back a full-on downpour. I wonder how long it will last. Read more

SS President Coolidge 70th Anniversary, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Team Vanuatu shine at Foire Internationale du Pacifique

Team Vanuatu pose for a group photo. 
Industry operators from White Grass Ocean Resort, Banyan Tree House, The Melanesian, and Poppys on the Lagoon were led by the Vanuatu Tourism Office’s New Caledonian and French market representative, Ms Martine Robin to participate in the second international trade fair at the La Baie de la Moselle from 4th to 8th October. Approximately 25,000 visitors that came to the trade fair were drawn to the Vanuatu booth because of a range of holiday offers proposed by all New Caledonian wholesalers that packaged vacations in Efate, Espiritu Santo, Tanna, Malekula, and Ambrym. Team Vanuatu beautifully set up & decorated the Vanuatu booth unfolding national flag colours as the backdrop, accessorised by shell necklaces, grass skirts and handicrafts. In the booth, large panoramic screens showed cultural dances and destination footages which drew in large crowds enticing consumers to pick up holiday brochures and ask questions on products and offers. Vanuatu was conveniently situated between Air Calin and Air Vanuatu, tieing in with Mirage Voyages & Axxess Travel who were also present at the exhibition to offer direct bookings to Vanuatu. Ms Robin stresses, "It’s very important for Vanuatu to be proactively engaged in this market to promote and capture travelers arriving in Noumea, especially newcomers on a 2 - 3 years contract from Europe & France.” 
Banners boast smiles and happy faces of Vanuatu.
Ms Robin continues to say, “This event is vital to showcase Vanuatu as a top and very close holiday destination to Noumea, that offers a variety of different product packages to suit everyone.”  Robin remarks, “The Vanuatu tourism industry has to be careful on the new increase of other competitor destination, like Fiji, which have recently proposed offers to the New Caledonian market.  So I encourage our tourism industry members to join VTO in the Wik Blong Vanuatu next month to showcase Vanuatu as a strong tourism destination."

Notes for Wik Blong Vanuatu, 8-11 November 2012

The VTO is finalizing preparations for Wik Blong Vanuatu. The New Caledonian market continues to grow with an increase of 18% more visitors compared to last year from January to end July which is a result of the Vanuatu Tourism Office undertaking more marketing activities from the beginning of 2012. Some of these activities include: March - TOK TOK with the travel agents & wholesalers, May & June - 6  weeks competition to raise the awareness through Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes , Billboard and travel Magazines, July – inaugural presentation of Vanuatu at the Mine Site of Goro, and August – Roadshow, Vanuatu presentation at the Koniamboin mine site and at Hotel Kone including display of Vanuatu’s local food & dishes, cultural performances and artefacts.  

Public Invitation for Yeosu Expo 2012 Official Closing 16th October 2012, Port Vila Seafront, at 5pm

The general public in Port Vila is invited to come and celebrate the official closing of the Yeosu Expo 2012 next Tuesday. Also participating in the celebration will be the Korean community in Vila dressed in traditional outfit, bringing in their signature dishes for the public to sample. If you are in Vila next week, come and witness the handing over of the expo report, and enjoy the entertainment and cultural performances from Vanuatu and Korea.

Origin Culinary Arts & Hospitality show hosts Pacific Culinary Challenge.

The Vanuatu Chefs & Food Handlers Association annual event promoting the Restaurant, Food Service & Hospitality Industry - The Origin Culinary Arts & Hospitality Show is on again in 2012 - slightly later than usual – at the very end of October. This is because the VCFHA is playing host to an annual competition between Pacific members of the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) - A non for profit organisation representing over 10 Million Chefs and 93 nations worldwide. The Pacific Culinary Challenge is a live cooking competition consisting of two team events. 

Two Chefs – a Senior and Junior  - selected from the best of each nations Associations compete against one another in a competition similar to that of the very popular MasterChef , My Kitchen Rules and Iron Chef Television programmes. This event will see four teams travelling to Vanuatu to compete. Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Guam will all be represented. Vanuatu will have its own National Culinary Team competing in the event. 

Members of the public are invited to come watch and see some of the Pacific’s best Chefs in action. The International event will take place on the 01st & 02nd of November. During the 4 days, there are bed-making competitions, cocktail-making & table service competitions, Coffee making, Live cooking and Cold displays of competitors work. Giving the public a chance to see hard working industry staff doing what they do best. The event is held each year to showcase & develop the skills of some Vanuatu’s best Hospitality people, allowing them to compete alongside each other in a fun environment where recognition is received for excellence. 

The other feature event – The Origin Energy Vanuatu Restaurant Challenge will also be on from the 31st of October, a team event where Establishments enter teams of 4 (2 chefs & 2 wait staff) that will prepare a three course lunch of their own signature dishes – that will be matched with wine & served to guests on site. All aspects of the Teams Restaurant Experience will be judged - from the menu design to presentation of food and the service delivery of the wait staff. The winning establishment will receive the first prize – donated by Origin of 100,000VT. It is the only Restaurant competition for Vanuatu. The public are welcome to come see what’s going on, entry to the showgrounds - Between Chantillys and Moorings Hotels on Lini Highway is free of charge.

The competition begins on the 30th of October and finishes on the 02nd of November. All are welcome to come & support their friends and family and see what’s going on.

APTC Graduation - Keynote address by Mrs Julia King, Evergreen Tours

First of all: Apologies from my Managing Director,Philip Malas who is not able to be here at this time. Honour the Good Lord for this time an opportunity that we can all be here.

Acting High Commissioner  Aust.High Commission – Ms Charlene Wartego
CEO of APTC- Mr Barry Peddle
Director of School of Hospitality and Community Services – Mr Anthony Bailey
Country Manager for APTC Vanuatu Campus – Ms Kathryn Gray
NZ High Commisioner –Mr Bill Dorby
Government Representatives
Honorable DPM Ham Lini
Honarable Min Charlot Salwai
DG of Education- Mr Jesse Dick
DG of Trades – Mr Marokon Alilee
Vanuatu Hotels And Tourism Industry Members
APTC Training Partners and Industry Partners
APTC Alumni Association Members
APTC Trainers & Staff
APTC Students & Families
And above all the graduating class of 2012: Congratulations!

This is a wonderful day for all of you, as you mark the end of one great effort and the beginning of another. You’ve taken on difficult assignments, passed tough exams. You’ve pored over course books late into the night and into the early morning. You’ve worked hard, You’ve stumbled and gotten back up.
As for your families, this is their day, too, because they’ve been on this journey with you. They’ve listened to you, worried for you and  placed their hopes in you. I am excited for you because it is an achievement not only for you but also this industry and for your respective countries. Its moments like these when we need a new generation to offer new ideas ,skills and energy to meet challenges we face in this industry.
Last night while I was trying to write this speech, my children were jumping over me and ripping my papers apart and I realized that my nervousness was not because I was giving you a speech but for you, graduates,  to have come to another milestone of your life and have the great world of choices and potentials before you.

Blokart Vanuatu celebrates its 1st Year!

Blokart Vanuatu has announced arriving at its first 12 months of land sailing in Vanuatu and to mark the anniversary, Blokart Vanuatu is excited to announce the release of their first promotional DVD which can be watched on Youtube. 

View link:

Win A Pacific Island Holiday For 2 On Vanuatu!

Pacific West seafood and Air Vanuatu are offering you the chance to win an exclusive holiday for 2 to the beautiful Pacific island of Vanuatu. (Australian residents only). This incredible prize includes return flights from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne and accommodation for 2 people for a 7 night stay at the Breakas Beach Resort. Also included are; a welcome fruit cocktail on arrival, daily continental breakfast, cultural tour of local village, guided reef walk at low tide, one hour scuba diving introductory lesson, one hour Melanesian cooking class and a one hour massage for 2 guests.

Simply click the link below for a chance to WIN!