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.”