Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Big Wilco Relay 2012

Douglas Patterson of Island Property, poses with his champions of the Premier Male 2012.
For release: To run something as BIG as a Relay around Efate you need a BIG Sponsor with a BIG amount of staff to make it successful.  Wilco was that sponsor and they were very happy to put on Event for the local community who are their most valued customers.
The man is charge at Wilco was Troy Harris who had just spent tireless hours working on the Kiwanis Race day had no time to breath before launching into the relay.  This was the third time that Wilco had put on the event and each time Troy looked at ways to improve it.  This year as much as possible he decided to rely on the Wilco Staff to act as Bus Officials and on the Checkpoints out on the course.  And the Wilco staff put in a BIG effort, some of them up as early as 2:00am picking up other staff and having them at Wilco for 4:00am.  Out on the course it rained several times, but they were not deterred, they kept performing their tasks to make sure that all the runners recoded a time and that Relay was safe and fair for everyone.  Out there with them was the staff from Event Logic the Race Organiser working together.
The BIGGEST effort of the day was from Joe Blake who ran the entire race himself in a very respectable 11:43 minutes and by himself came 20th of 30 teams who went around the island.  Joe was born on Iririki Island and is the brother of well know Gary Blake from Ridgeway Blake.  When Joe crossed the finish line, Paradise FM was there to interview him and Joe obliged not even out of breath after his herculean effort.
The BIG winners for the day were Island Property once again taking the Pierre Paul cup that they won in 2010 named in honour of their fallen team mate who was tragically killed training for the relay in 2010.  Island Property did the race in 8Hrs and 23 minutes, closely followed by Namalamal in 8hrs and 24 minutes and Iakuei in 8hrs, 25 minutes.
Not to be out done the other BIG winners were, Tradebase Girls for the Premier Female event in 11hrs and 16 minutes followed by Isangel Girls in 11hrs and 35 minutes, and Prouds Roadrunners 1 in 11hrs and 37 minutes.  The Iakuei Mixed team in 9hrs and 10 minutes blitzed the opposition coming in over an hour ahead of second placed Bred Bank NAFE in 10 hrs and 14 minutes, third was Ecole Centreville in 10hrs and 17 minutes.  First for the Social Category was Tusker Hash Harriers in 11hrs and 36 minutes, followed by Team Tequila in 12hrs 37 minutes and Roadrunners 2 in 13hrs and 14 minutes.
A BIG feature of the Wilco Relay that was introduced when Wilco took over the event was the introduction of the Schools Category which is FREE to all schools with the winning teams receiving Wilco vouchers for school improvements.  The 2012 Winners were Suango in 42 minutes and 30 seconds, Vila North in 42 minutes and 50 seconds and Ecole Centreville in 43 minutes.  The ten runners from the schools run the last leg of 12km from Shark Bay to Wilco between them, getting let go as the first runners passes that checkpoint.
Wilco would also like to say a BIG thank you to the International teams that came over for the Event.  There were two teams from the Jump Start Foundation who also sponsored the Isangel girls to come up from Tanna and The Pluggers.
There was also a BIG BIG effort from some cyclist and motorcyclist who followed the winning teams right around the island.  A BIG thank you to them for their efforts and volunteering their time.
One of the BIG differences this year was the support of the Police who were out there in force to try and maintain order for the many vehicles who travel around the Island to support teams.  The Police quickly arrested a drunk driver who struck one of the runners from Australia.  They reported that he was in jail at the same time as the runners was in hospital.  Thankfully the runner is recovering from a deep flesh wound and there was nothing broken.
It is also worth mentioning that Team Health ran the race for fun and were right up there with the winning teams.  Some of Team Health were a part of a team that declined to run one section of the race where a World Record run was recorded in the section from Dry Creek to Rentapau where the runners would’ve had to run at over 21 km/h.  Given the choice of any of their runners rerunning that section or being awarded the prize money and receiving a life ban, they choose the later.  The vast majority of the team were out there on Saturday saying they were doing it for fun and to prove themselves.
Wilco and Event Logic would like to say a BIG thank you to all those involved and look forward to BIGGER and better things in 2013. 

What to do in Vanuatu July issue available for download

Click on the image below to download your copy of What to do in Vanuatu 2012, July issue.

Pacific smiles & dances at the Olympics

For immediate release: During the Olympics, St Katharine Docks in London will host members of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and the Oceania National Olympic Committee in which Vanuatu is a member of.  From 26th July to 13th August Pacific Island nations such as Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa and Papua New Guinea will change a large pontoon anchored in the West Marina into a tropical South Pacific island.  Visitors and participants alike will see coconut palm trees, and action packed cultural dance performances by the Thames by pacific islanders. Against the backdrop of the Olympic rings on Tower Bridge, palm trees will swing in the breeze, a traditional thatched meeting house will be built and the docks will echo with warrior war cries and chants of the pacific islands so visitors can get a taste of the rich cultural heritage of the South Pacific.  A wide range of traditional dancing and song representative of the region will be showcased on the pontoon, as well as traditional crafts and skills demonstrations.  Ambassadors in national costume from the south Pacific island nations will be on hand to bring to life these exotic destinations, renowned as among the friendliest in the world.  They will talk to visitors about their islands, what to do and how to get there. There will be a press event on the 30th July, 5pm followed by drinks on the pontoon with an exciting showcase of traditional dancing and music from the Pacific, as well as a traditional feast, kava ceremony and a chance to meet the Olympic athletes and dignitaries from the islands. If you would like to attend please contact Pandora George or Kate Mault .

It doesn't get more exotic at Santa Fe - Vanuatu Kava Night

Vanuatu Kava was served to a handful of travel industry professionals during last week's Santa Fe tradefair in New Mexico, USA. The tradefair was attended by the General Manager of the VTO, Ms Linda Kalpoi seen pictured on the left whilst Zilo Bong prepares a shell for the first taker. Photos from Artful Jade.

Kayaking Vanuatu new web address

Kayaking Vanuatu has a new web site www.toursinvanuatu.comFor those who already have Kayaking Vanuatu's back link (the old site address) please amend to the new website address  Kayaking Vanuatu thanks all for the continued support and looks forward to assisting the industry in the best interest of Tourism in Vanuatu. Email Visit  

All new Mele Bay Express bus service

Click on image to enlarge.
The Mele Bay Tourism website is now  LIVE!!  The Mele Bay Express bus service has been running for 3 weeks over a month now and is gaining popularity with many hotels and resorts recommending the bus service.  The tourist passengers love the service for convenience and cost. Jim and Katrina from The Summit have recently visited the majority of hotels and resorts to speak to Guest Relations Managers and Tour Desk staff about The Summit and taking the opportunity promoting the Mele Bay Express and dropping off tourist flyers. Buses depart the Anchor Inn on the hour every hour from 9am – 5pm and depart from The Summit on the hour every hour from 10am – 4pm. Though new, Mele Bay Express bus service is already gaining popularity in major resorts and hotels and has been provided with wonderful feedback. For more information, visit the website.

Bring on the next 10,000

Ms Jade Williams
Event Logic release: On Friday 13th July, some were not unlucky after all when Edge Adventures hit the milestone of having 10,000 clients abseil down the Mele Cascades Waterfall. Edge Management commented, "We are very proud of this achievement and thank you all for your support especially to Evergreen Tours for allowing the use of its amazing waterfalls in the last seven years" - Troy Spann, Edge Adventures Management. Jade Williams a Sydney Veterinarian nurse for the RSPCA became the 10,000th Client to abseil down the Mele Cascades with Edge Adventure Tours. The unsuspecting  Jade was presented with a certificate at the bottom of the falls which informed her, that a Helicopter from Helicopters Vanuatu would be waiting for her and a friend, to whisk them away to one of Vanuatu’s best Restaurants, Eratap Beach Resort.  That friend was Adam Clark a Parachute Rigger for the RAAF.  Jade and Adam, other clients on the tour and Edge staff shared a celebratory glass of champagne in the waterfall before flying away. Edge kicked off with its first tour on the 5th of May 2005 and in the ensuing seven years built an impeccable reputation for running safe and fun experiences for people from all walks of life.  It hasn’t mattered if people had abseiled before as the waterfall abseil is truly unique.  Most, if they had abseiled before, was back in their school days, others, come to challenge themselves and go beyond their fear of heights.  The youngest satisfied customer was just six, the oldest 79.  Whoever they have been, EDGE staff have enjoyed sharing in their experience. Follow the link to a youtube clip from the Event .

Port Vila FM103 to cover Olympic Games

For immediate release: Commencing on Saturday 28th July, coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games will be broadcast for more than six hours daily across Radio Australia’s network of 24-hour FM frequencies in South-East Asia and the Pacific.
The broadcasts will provide audiences with live coverage of the Games including results as they happen, breaking stories, highlights and interviews with Australian and international athletes. Providing ABC Grandstand’s high quality and dedicated coverage of the event is an exciting prospect according to Pacific & English Editor Ryan Egan, “It’s really great to be able to bring the best London 2012 Olympic coverage from the ABC to our audiences across the region.  With more than six hours of live coverage every night, audiences will be able to hear all the action as it happens and of course we’ll have stories, updates and medal counts throughout the day in regular programs and news services.”

Radio Australia’s coverage of the London 2012 Olympics is available on: Papua New Guinea • Port Moresby 101.9FM & Lae 102.1FM, Solomon Islands • Honiara 107FM
Vanuatu • Port Vila & Santo 103FM, Fiji • Suva, Nadi & Labasa 106.6FM & Ba 106.4FM
Samoa • Apia 102FM, Tonga • Nuku’alofa 103FM, Cook Islands • Rarotonga 93FM
Kiribati • Tarawa 90FM **, Palau • Koror 91.5FM, Marshall Islands • Majuro 98.5FM
Federated States of Micronesia • Pohnpei 88.1FM, Cambodia • Phnom Penh, Siem Reap & Sihanoukville 101.5FM, Laos • Vientiane 96FM, East Timor • Dili 106.4FM

*Alternate programs will be available to audiences listening to Radio Australia's online audio streams 
** Technical issues during this time may prevent the broadcast of the London 2012 Olympics through 90FM in Kiribati

For further media enquires please contact: Mark Hemetsberger, Head of Marketing & Communications, ABC RADIO AUSTRALIA, Tel: +61 3 9626 1723, Mob: +61 438 947 523 Email:

Vanuatu on Getaway Channel 9

Getaway on Channel Nine featured a segment on Vanuatu particularly on Efate and Tanner on a recent Saturday show. View the segment below.
Vanuatu island hopping: Beaches, volcanoes and more

Vanuatu is pretty much what you would expect from a South Pacific destination, but for Natalie Gruzlewski, the friendliness of its people sets it apart. In 2010 Vanuatu topped the New Economics Foundation's Happy Planet Index as the "Happiest Place on Earth".
Most holidays start in Port Vila on the island of Efate, the gateway to Vanuatu's 83 islands.

VTOA announces new President

L-R: Charmaine Roberts, Morgan Bragg, Helen Goad & Ray Kitney
July 23, 2012: It was with regret that the Executive Committee announced the resignation of our President, Mr. Tony Houlahan from Big Blue, at our General Meeting last week.
Since taking over the Presidency at the AGM in April this year, Tony & the Executive Committee have worked extremely hard for the VTOA in an effort to increase membership, and the associations profile in the Tourism Sector here in Efate. Tony has taken the Association from 22 members to 56 members, and he is to be commended on his management and public relations skills in this area. The Members wish Tony all the best, and extend to him our gratitude for the work that he has put in. Now for the good news – at the General Meeting members were asked to submit expressions of interest in taking on this onerous task, and it is with pleasure that the Executive Committee have appointed Mr. Morgan Bragg of The Barge (amongst other business interests) as the new President of the VTOA. Morgan comes to the VTOA with many and varied skills. Morgan initially moved to Vanuatu from New Zealand in 1997, meeting his partner Marie here in 2000. After discovering a disused barge in 2003, Morgan and Marie commenced their tourism business providing visitors to Vila cruises on First Lagoon, and joined the growing number of businesses catering to P&O Cruises in 2005 – that year there were only 18 cruise ships coming to Vila. Morgan has had 35 years running his own businesses, and in that time has been involved with numerous committees and associations. He says:
“To work together & unite together makes better business, and better business makes more money for everyone, both business owners and staff alike”.
Morgan went on to say: “My aim during this time of rein at the helm of the VTOA will be to further unite the members, showing our members that they have the backing of an Executive Committee who has their best interests at heart, and in turn, making decisions at the Executive level that will have the backing of the majority of the members.” The Executive Committee and Members of the VTOA extend a warm welcome to Morgan Bragg, and look forward to more exciting ideas and events coming from him as our new leader.

2012 Wilco Relay Results available

Over the weekend on Saturday 21st July, the VTO assisted organizers of the Wilco Round Island Relay. The VTO would like to congratulate Wilco & Event Logic for a great event. View overall results, including category winners below.
Click on the image to enlarge.


Novo Dental opens state of the art clinic in Port Vila

Residents and tourists alike welcome the opening of a brand new dental clinic in downtown Port Vila.

Novo Dental has opened its doors and impressed patients with its state-of-the-art dental equipment and facilities. The clinic owner says it operates to the highest of international standards and has installed the latest fully digital X-Ray machines, including a very large Panoramic/CT X-Ray which will allow the Clinic to treat patients who require implants.  The clinic is also proud to boast it has the only ‘hospital-grade’ sterilisation unit in any dental facility in the country.

The clinic employs two fulltime resident Dental Surgeons, Dr. Felipe Lemos (General Dentist) and Dr. Marcel Cruz (General Dentist and Implant Specialist), both of whom are internationally trained and experienced.

Novo Dental is conveniently located next to the Waterfront Bar in Anchor House (behind Copy Express & South Pacific Travel).  The clinic is currently offering a FREE consultation to all new patients.

Appointments can be made by calling +678 26696.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kalorib becomes VTO's new Marketing Assistant/Secretary Marketing

Management and Board of Directors for the Vanuatu Tourism Office congratulates Nancy Kalorib for being promoted to becoming VTO's new Marketing Assistant/Secretary Marketing. The position is in line with the VTO’s 2012 restructure endorsed by the Board and the changes of roles following on from the re-advertisement of the Marketing Manager’s position.  A few of Ms Kalorib's key responsibilities include assisting with the development and coordination of travel itineraries for visiting international print and broadcast media and travel trade, assist in co-ordinating familiarizations within a strict budget and negotiate with tourism industry on rates to maximize the cost benefit and experience of each familiarization, provide meet and greet/transfer service for visiting travel agents/tour operators, escort as host/guide on sightseeing/fact finding,  and maintain an accurate record of VTO’s stock levels of promotional materials and assist with internal requests for Vanuatu collateral. Again congratulations Nancy, from all at the VTO.

VTO GM Kalpoi attends Santa Fe expo, New Mexico

The General Manager of VTO has departed Port Vila this week for the US, Santa Fe in New Mexico. Mrs Kalpoi is attending the USA Sante Fe International Folk Art Market with Vanuatu artist Zilo Bong from Ambrym with the aim of show casing Vanuatu as a holiday destination and at the same time promoting Vanuatu’s unique cultures and artifacts which Zilo will be the key artist.  Sue Herrick, VTO rep in USA together with well-known journalist and photographer Judie and Paul who have been to Vanuatu and fallen in love with the country, have organized a special promotion for Vanuatu to coincide with this international for Vanuatu to get a lot of exposure and lure visitors to these beautiful shores, including great media exposure.

Vanuatu participates in Manseongri Beach clean-up, Korea

Media release, 09 July 2012: On July 6 from 9:30am to 11am, 25 international pavilions participated alongside the Paradise Pavilion in a clean-up event at Manseongri Beach.
This day was a chance for everyone to reflect on Yeosu Expo’s promotional theme “Living Oceans and Coasts.” Participants in the event included Kim Ch’ung-sŏk, mayor of Yeosu, as well as American environmental activist Philippe Cousteau, Vanuatu booth minders from the Pacific Ocean Joint Pavilion, and members from 25 international pavilions.  In total, about 120 people participated.  At Manseongri Beach and its surrounding areas, these participants engaged in a broad clean-up event. Said Philippe Cousteau, “Through a system of maintaining and protecting ocean life, the theme of ‘Living Oceans and Coasts’ is one that carries with it a vision.  Everyone across the world realizes the importance of solving the issue of water pollution, and through events like this, our efforts to improve the situation are fulfilled.” Pavilions that participated in the Manseongri Beach clean-up event include South Korea, the United States, Kiribati, Ecuador, Japan, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Belgium, Indonesia, Guatemala, Seychelles, Oman, Russia, the Ivory Coast, Malaysia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Mauritania, East Timor, Thailand, the UAE, Colombia, Australia, and Vanuatu. In an opening address, Yeosu mayor Kim Chung-seok said, “This beach clean-up is a small way to reflect on the Yeosu World Expo’s theme, but it has an enormous and significant connotation. Through the media, your sincerity will be transmitted to the rest of the world, and the Republic of Korea extends to you a hand of thanks.  Though the event is small, I believe that it will reverberate greatly in the historical record of the Yeosu World Expo.”

Vanuatu booth draws smile on Korean faces

Media release, 09 July 2012: Since the beginning of the month of July visitors to the Vanuatu booth, at the mini world Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea, have an extra reason to smile. Not only can they learn on site that people of Vanuatu have been selected twice as “happiest people on earth”, but the Vanuatu team undiscovered the “win free flighst to Vanuatu” draw, thanks to Air Vanuatu. On Wednesday 04th of July Korea Trade Commissioner Mr. Kim Young Don revealed the destination marketing game to the International Pavilion director, Mr. Jung Yong Duck. The game period will last until Vanuatu National Day, Monday 30th July, which will be greatly celebrated at Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea. Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Tourism, Commerce and Industry, the honorable Ham Lini Vanuaroroa, is expected to draw the 6 lucky winners of the return Sydney – Port-Vila air tickets. Conditions apply to the draw, such as being a Korean citizen.  The Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea organizing committee acknowledges Vanuatu national air career as the major sponsor of this promotional event.

Weddings in Vanuatu goes live

By VTO Australia: Dear all, Vanuatu Tourism Office in Australia has been developing a dedicated weddings microsite and we are delighted to announce that  has been launched recently promoting all aspects of weddings and honeymoons in Vanuatu. This website will be useful to people planning a wedding as well as agents as it includes essential information to get married in Vanuatu: how to get there, legal requirements, venues, wedding planners and services available. A competition will also run quarterly on the website and will allow a lucky couple to win a romantic holiday in Vanuatu, telling us in 25 words or less why Vanuatu is their dream wedding destination. To further promote this site and the information it gives we would appreciate if you can link it to your site? We look forward to your valued feedback and helping us to promote this market in Vanuatu.

News that matters from VTOA

VTOA  media release: As per previous media releases, the Executive Committee and members have been working hard to get the VTOA widely recognized as a proactive and effective tool in promoting what Vanuatu has to offer our guests in the areas of tours and activities that will enhance their visit to our beautiful country. Plans for Tok Tok Vanuatu 2012 are moving ahead, with the VTOA sponsoring a lunch for the delegates that will be held on Thursday 30th August. A number of operators have offered free familiarity tours for delegates to enjoy, with the final format for these hinging on some decisions from the Tok Tok Committee. Helen, Vice-President, continues her involvement with the VHRA in an effort to create a stronger bond between the tour sector and the accommodation sector. She has been made welcome at the VHRA monthly meetings, and is working collaboratively with the VHRA to ensure a win/win for all stakeholders. The VTOA decorated a booth at the ACP/EU Conference venue at Le Lagon, and whilst attendance numbers were down in this part of the venue, having a presence is all about branding and having our association involved and out there to spread the word to the world as to what Tour Operators have to offer visitors and locals alike. Membership numbers continue to increase, giving the Association a “louder voice”, and with some ideas yet to be implemented, we will hopefully have the opportunity to speak with various stakeholders in the Tourism Sector in an effort to lobby for more recognition and assistance in this very difficult economic climate. Have a great week (getting over three cruise ships in a row last week), and let’s look forward to better times for the future of tourism in Vanuatu. The VTOA can be contacted by sending an email to Charmaine at   or by phoning Tony on +678 7778561.

Lotus Update - Cafe and Clinic Announcements

Source Lotus Newsletter 10th July 2012: We are very excited to announce the arrival of "Sue Green" our New Zealand Chef starting at our Lotus Cafe this Thursday.  Sue has years of experience as a Chef and in Cafe management and we are delighted to have her join our team.  We are looking forward to the Aromas drifting through the Cafe as Sue puts her talent into action. Dr Hanz Raetz and Suzy Aitken will commencing their clinic at Lotus this coming Monday the 9th July. The following services will be available: Monday 9th, Tuesday 10th, Wednesday 11th, Monday 16th, Tuesday 17th, Wednesday 18th •    Skin Cancer checks and Biopsy or Excision of lesions as required. •    Botox and Dermal Fillers •    Microsclerotherapy ( for superficial Spider veins) •    Varicose Vein Consultations, •    Vasectomies, •    Cosmetic removal of skin lesions. The bookings are filling up fast so call Jinny now on 28811 to secure your appointment for these specialist treatments.  Have a great week, Margie, Jinny and the team Lotus Day Spa. Contact Lotus on phone +678 28811.  Visit

All new Vanuatu Jungle Zipline

Port Vila’s newest  adventure attraction, Vanuatu Jungle Zipline recently opened and not surprising, it’s the local residents that are filling up all the weekend tours. It’s been a terrific response. All keen to give this new adventure sport that is so popular all over the world a try. Not only do you get you get the big thrills zipping along the jungle canopy four stories high but there are two suspension bridges, an 80 meter high canyon that you traverse with a return over a waterfall. The eco-walk through the cool forest floor alone is worth the trip. And the views are spectacular!  If your party is divided, The Summit Gardens have a beautiful garden tour and café that will keep the rest of your party on the ground very happy. Located at The Summit in Mele Bay. Ages 6 and up. Open daily from 10am to 3pm.  Bookings essential on +678 555 0423.

Air Vanuatu commences Suva-Vila direct flights

Media release: A new direct flight between Port Vila and Suva operated by Air Vanuatu has been hailed a success, with tickets selling fast for the new service. Chief Executive Officer of Air Vanuatu Joseph Laloyer said he was delighted with the forward bookings for the weekly service and grateful for the assistance the Fijian authorities had offered in getting the flight off the ground. Mr. Laloyer said Air Vanuatu saw a market for Fiji-Vanuatu business and student travelers with no carrier offering direct services between the two capital cities. “Many business travelers have been forced to either drive between Nadi and Suva, or catch a domestic flight at great expense. Not to mention the extra time it takes to get home; with Air Vanuatu’s great, low fares and terrific on board service, we’re seeing students, business travelers and tourists booking the new service.” Mr. Laloyer said the airline’s ATR-72 aircraft is operating the new flights. “The 68 seat ATR is the perfect aircraft to operate the short service.” The new Fiji service, which began on 01 July will departs Port Vila at 0730, arriving in to Suva at 1100 local time. The return flight departs Fiji at 1200, arriving in to Vila at 1330. “We appreciate our passengers want to spend less time traveling from A to B – and this means not wanting to take two flights just to get to a neighbouring island. Direct flights make sense, and we’re really proud to be the only carrier offering this service,” Mr. Laloyer said.

Tourism Symposium organizers thank all

By Joseph Cheer: Dear Colleagues, Firstly, a belated ‘tank yu tumas’ for your participation at the symposium last week. The event would not have worked without the generous support of presenters and the attendance of participants (and those who tried but were unable to make it).  In particular, our thanks to Monash University, Vanuatu Department of Tourism, Vanuatu Tourist Office, Poppy’s on the Lagoon, PiPP and both the New Zealand and Australian High Commission to Vanuatu. It was a great privilege to have the majority of key stakeholders in the room in a spirit of goodwill and friendship, and with the united goal of strengthening the country’s tourism sector. It was also a reminder of the magnitude of the task ahead. Since 2009, both Keir and I, with the support of Monash University, have pursued this research project and our dedication to assisting tourism sector research and related strengthening initiatives in Vanuatu and the region remains strong. With our partners USP and Massey University we look forward to building the momentum. Monash University’s considerable investment in hosting the symposium is a clear sign that we are committed to working with you over the long term and ensuring that our research program assists the development of a deeper understanding of the impacts of tourism and helps inform tourism sector policy. In the coming months we would like to complete a number of initiatives to allow us to work towards meeting some of the resolutions that were proposed at the culmination of the symposium. 1. Finalise Symposium Report/Proceedings. 2.  Finalise a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Tourism (DoT) and Vanuatu Tourist Office (VTO). 3.  Finalise a Memorandum of Understanding with VHRA and VTOA. 4. Finalise a Memorandum of Understanding with PiPP. 5. Finalise a Memorandum of Understanding with TAFEA Tourism Council. 6. Finalise a Memorandum of Understanding with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre. 7. Continue to facilitate the promotion of the tourism sector as a key development partner and positioning it for increased donor support. 8.      Continue our advanced discussions with Carnival Australia (CAU), the tourism sector and donors on the South Pacific Cruise Tourism Research Initiative. 9. Finalize preparations for the joint USP/Monash University ‘Tourism and Development in Small States Conference: Global and Local Perspectives’ September 12-14, 2012. If you wish to attend as participant or presenter please register your interest with us ASAP. We look forward to seeing you in September. Until then stay tuned for more. Tank yu tumas, Joseph & Keir.

Vanuatu Tourism Infrastructure Project (VTIP)

The Government of Vanuatu through the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Local Authorities (DLA) and the Port Vila Municipal Council (PVMC) are seeking options for the rehabilitation and development of public areas at Port Vila’s Portside Precinct alongside the cruise ship wharf and the Seafront Precinct. Funding and support is being provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) through New Zealand Aid Programme . MFAT has commissioned BECA, a NZ-based Engineering firm to assist DOT, DLA and PVMC with the development of these two areas to enhance visitor’s experiences. Tourism activities in Vanuatu equate to approximately 40% of GDP and it has been estimated that arrivals from cruise ships accounts for almost half of this. Significant growth in the cruise ship industry is occurring and it is apparent that existing infrastructure and services will struggle to cope with future demand. Improvements to enhance visitor’ experiences are required to secure revenue for the Government and the tourism sector. The project goal is “to encourage tourists and local people to use and enjoy the Port Vila Portside and Seafront Precincts”.
The outcome of this project aims to achieve two outcomes: -1. Tourists who leave the cruise ships for shore-based activities report a quality experience at the Port Vila Portside and Seafront Precincts. 2. Functional, safe, and attractive (cruise ship) Portside and Seafront Precincts in Port Vila. BECA will be providing 3 options for each site including the site plan, cross section and one perspective view. The Project Management Committee (PMC) for the project organized a stakeholder and public consultations on Friday 06th July 2012 last week, at the Seafront Stage in Port Vila, and a public exhibition display on the concept designs for the Portside and Seafront Precinct is currently displayed at the Exhibition Centre for the French Embassy this week until Friday 13th July, 2012. Feel free to pop into the centre to see concept designs.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vanue Cultural Sites & Village Tour launches in East Ambae

Department of Tourism news updates: “Vanue Cultural Sites & Village Tour” a new tour product in East Ambae, Penama Province.
The East area for Ambae Island boasts a new tour product called the ‘Vanue Cultural Sites & Village Tour’. This tour is a combination of historical, cultural & natural sites for this eastern part of the Island linking the old tales of Tumsisiro and Tumtitiro. A walk through the local gardens which forms part of the economical sustaining of this Community will take you to see one of the oldest grave stones of Chief tales of long ago and its relation to the way of living of this people of the land. Entertainment provided by the local string band of the village throws your feet to dance to great tunes while munching on some fresh grapefruit, pawpaw, coconuts and nothing like fresh coconut juice. Pasisi kava is also served for the visitors to welcome them to the tour and to the land. A walk through the village features stories and displays of mats and pig tusks used during traditional wedding ceremonies in the island of Ambae. A visit to the cocoa patch and pig’s fence ends off with some local food tasting inside the nakamal. A variety of baked kumala, taro and cabbage is served with local chicken to feed the hungry stomach. This tour can accommodate a minimum of 2 persons and can be booked via the Tourism Office located in the Saratamata area, East Ambae on 5526026 or

If you are visiting the East Ambae area, stop and experience this tour as it unfolds stories of long ago.

VIBTA President visits tourism operators Maewo and Pentecost

VIBTA executives pose with tourism operators
Department of Tourism News update: Vanuatu Island Bungalow & Tourism Association (VIBTA) President visits tourism operators in South Maewo and North Pentecost.
President for the Vanuatu Island Bungalow & Tourism Association (VIBTA) Mr. David Dick was warmly welcomed on his arrival in Asanvari, South Maewo when he met up with the South Maewo Tourism Association President, Mr. Barnabas Tugu.
A meeting was held with the local tourism operators in the Asanvari bay where a lot of yachts visit during the months of May to November of each year. Mr. Tugu stated the need for more business and tourism trainings to be provided to his members and the link for more tour operators to package their products so that they can have visitors visiting them.
In visiting the north Pentecost area, Mr. Dick was also welcomed to the North Pentecost Tourism Association by its President, Mr. Martin Ligo. Mr. Dick was provided with the challenges of road conditions in this area. The visiting delegation comprising of Mr. David Dick, Mr. Lesly Mera and Mrs. Adela Aru were fortunate to also identify several events that could become potential tourism tour products for promoting and attracting visitors to visit the north Pentecost area. A meeting was held with several tourism operators in the north Pentecost whereby they enquired how they could increase visitors getting into their area. An update on what the association was doing was also presented to the VIBTA President by Mr. Martin Ligo. VIBTA President thanked both Presidents for the South Maewo and North Pentecost Tourism Associations for their commitment and involvement in the tourism industry and encouraged them to continue with the work they are currently undertaking with all tourism members.

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New Tourism Products in Asanvari, South Maewo.

Department of Tourism news update: Asanvari Bay in South Maewo hosts an incredible bay for yachts to visit in the months of May to November of each year. A visit currently undertaken by Mrs. Adela Aru and Mr. Lesly Mera tourism product development officers for the Department of Tourism (DOT) confirmed that this area boasts four (4) new tourism products. Mule Ocean View Bungalows, Rourugurugu Creative Arts, Tamata Cultural Tours, Bongoi Snorkeling Cove & Lavoa Cascades & Sparkling Waters Bar & Restaurant are an awesome combination of tours and accommodation to visit and experience whilst on holiday in the Asanvari Bay.
Yachties are encouraged to support this community and family owned tourism businesses by experiencing the cultural way of living, listening to the tales of long ago, tasting local food and dance to the beats of the custom dances. A great variety of arts & craft are also on sale at the end of the tours but the villagers are so friendly they will give you a free token of gift as part of the tours. Smiling children and mothers greet you on your arrival and the guides are very friendly too. A visit to the Lavoa Cascades & Sparkling Waters Bar & Restaurant will spoil your appetite as you lunch and dine in the evening on seafood and watch the sunsets overlooking Ambae Island. Refresh at the Lavoa Cascades at daytime as it cools you off after a day of tours. Complimentary Snorkel is provided at the Bongoi Snorkeling Cove. This is a great snorkeling spot for everyone to see an abundance of sea life. Reside at the Mule Ocean View Bungalows where continental breakfast is served. Relax with the fresh ocean breeze just outside the door of your bungalow. With a total of 6 beds available in this whole area, it is definitely a getaway from the busy hustle and bustle of Port Vila.
The creativity and innovativeness of these locals put into creating these tours and accommodation shows the commitment and readiness they have for the tourism industry.
A travel package is underway to encourage visitors to visit the Asanvari bay via Sara airport in North Pentecost. A 45 minutes boat ride from Laone beach to the Asanvari bay is a thrilling water adventure as part of this tour. This 4 days 3 nights package will provide visitors an opportunity to stay 2 nights in the Asanvari Bay, experience the tours and reside at the Mule Ocean View Bungalows. The last night will be spent at the Walarua Guest House in the North Pentecost area where dinner and breakfast will be served. A last tour to experience the tour to the Lini Memorial Stone in the morning of the 04th day of the travel package will complete this exciting adventure tour as your transfer picks you up for check in at the Sara airport for take- off back to Port Vila or Santo. These new tourism products confirm that there are great attractions available in the South of Maewo and the North Pentecost to visit whilst on holiday in Vanuatu. 

Island Feast atop Yasur Volcano, Tanna with Peter Kuravita – Episode 8 Thursday 05 July 2012, 8:00PM SBS


Source Peter Kuruvita finds an intriguing mix of excitement and relaxation on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu. This volcanic island is home to a steadfastly preserved traditional way of life, and its chiefs grant Peter the adrenaline-filled pleasure of cooking atop the slopes of its active volcano, Mount Yasur. Having entered at his own risk and emerging unscathed with a batch of fire-roasted seafood cakes, Peter soaks in some hot springs, helps prepare a traditional Melanesian feast, and discovers the calming effects of the famous kava root. Read more.

NBA Star Slam Dunks Vanuatu’s Dogtooth & GT’s

“My favorite was watching the doggies come up on poppers and stickbaits, they would come out of the water and a lot of times miss on the first strike and come right back.” - Jared Jeffries.

Source June saw NBA basketballer and serious angler Jared Jeffries visit Vanuatu for his annual fishing holiday. Jared has fished all over the world and has been itching to get into some dogtooth tuna on jigs & topwater with us, so his request to Ocean Blue was to create a premium adventure with incredible fishing! Read more.

Big Bay Cultural Festival, Espiritu Santo

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lysepsep Cultural Park - Espiritu Santo

Iririki Island Resort Winter Special!

Australia and Vanuatu meet to strengthen business ties

The Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Industries and Tourism announced its support, on behalf of the Government and people of Vanuatu, for mutual business relations between Australia and Vanuatu on Friday 22nd June, 2012. The pronouncement was made during the first ever Australia/Vanuatu Business Council Meeting which was held in Brisbane, Australia.
Representing the Government of Vanuatu through the Deputy Prime Minister and same time Minister of Trade, Commerce, Industries and Tourism, Honourable Ham Lini, was the Director General of the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Industries and Tourism, Mr Marokon Alilee.   Discussions were on business, trade and investment relations between Vanuatu and Australia as well as challenges that hindered maximum productivity impacting both economies, and way forward resolutions. This was also a great opportunity to get up to date information on trade, business opportunities and current events in Vanuatu. During the meeting, facts and figures on business, trade and investment connections that Vanuatu has with Australia, strongly highlighted Australia as a crucial business partner for Vanuatu contributing to the country’s social and economic development, which the Director General Marokon Alilee acknowledged the Australian Government for, re-affirmed by a recent message by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Alfred Carlo.  Findings recorded in the last decade, highlighted that the total value of imports that have come in from Australia was 37%. Australia has the largest impact on foreign direct investment recorded in 2011 constituting to 28%, followed by France at 14% and China at 12%. In tourism, 84% of tourists holidaying in Vanuatu have been Australians and the Australian dollar (AUD) injected into Vanuatu’s economy to help sustain as well as build Vanuatu’s business and trade industries, grows to  on average 12% every year.  At the end of Mr Alilee’s opening statement, he wished all delegates successful talks and resolutions to pave the way forward in enhancing development to the mutual benefits of Vanuatu and Australia.

Click here to read the Director General’s statement.

Team Vanuatu networks with Lithuania

L-R: Mrs Yamada, Sebastien Bador and Julia King.

Hikers pose for a group photo.
Media release 29 June 2012: The current Vanuatu tourism booth minders at Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea are taking any opportunities provided to promote Vanuatu islands. Not only during their shifts within the Vanuatu booth in the Pacific Joint Pavilion, nicely named the Paradise Pavilion, but also after working hours. VTO Events/ Trade & Market Research Manager, Mr. Sebastien Bador, said “Julia and I are fully aware we’re in Yeosu, South Korea, for a short period of time. Hence we’re attending all invitations that are addressed to the Vanuatu team, and we’re committed to make people think about Vanuatu as a holiday destination after meeting with us.” The Republic of Lithuania held its Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea National Day on the 24th of June and cordially invited Vanuatu representatives to its morning ceremony and its evening cocktail. Mrs. King and Mr. Bador met with Mr. Romas Jankauskas, Commissioner General of the Lithuanian Pavilion; toasted with Mr. Arūnas Gelūnas, Lithuania Minister of Culture; and introduced Vanuatu islands to Mrs. Ina Marčiulionytė, from the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Director of the Pacific Department. Ms. Marčiulionytė also serves as Vice-President of the UNESCO Executive Board. Mr. Bador declared “It was such unexpected to meet someone like Ms. Marčiulionytė, and we warmly invited her to discover our country since she is in charge of the Pacific islands relations with the Lithuanian government. She appreciated and cheerfully replied she will do her best during one of her Pacific tours.” Vanuatu representatives also had the opportunity to exchange with the expoholic Japanese granny, Mrs. Tomiyo Yamada. Mrs. Yamada is famous amongst World Expo organizers as she visits World Expo sites during the whole duration of these events. On Tuesday 26th of June, Mrs. King and Mr. Bador took part to an early morning mountain hike dedicated to international delegates. Another opportunity to fly high Vanuatu colors in South Korea Black Pines forests. The Tunisian National Day at Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea took place on the 27th of June. The morning ceremony and the evening function at The MVL Hotel were attended by Mrs. King and Mr. Bador. During that dinner they had the opportunity to brief Al Wataniya 1, Tunisia TV channel 1, special reporter Mrs. Leila Debbichi and her cameraman about our tropical archipelago, as well as Mr. Rafik Tlatli, Tunisia best chef cook.