Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Miss Vanuatu 2014 Plans launched

The Miss Vanuatu committee and contestants came together for a beach party on Saturday 25th January at Banana Bay, south east of Efate for the official launch of the Miss Vanuatu 2014 work plans and preparations. The committee thanked last year contestants for their support and acknowledged sponsors and partners of Miss Vanuatu 2013. All the contestants received small gifts as souvenirs from the committee 2013. Photo: L-R: Valerie Martinez Miss Vanuatu 2013, Linda Kalpoi (Chairlady), Beverly Stafford (Vice Chair), James Kang (Major sponsor GRD Holding).

VTO attends Trade Negotiations Workshop

Vanuatu Tourism Office was nominated to participate in the Trade Negotiations workshop from 20 – 22 January, 2014, at the Melanesian Hotel. VTO's Events, Trade and Research Manager, Mr Sebastien Bador (pictured) represented the VTO at the workshop where trade managers, negotiators and those who provide input into the preparatory phase of negotiations, were trained to ensure that Vanuatu's multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements are promoted and defended.

Turkish tourists treated

By Len Garae, Daily Post 30th January 2014:  While some said “cool”, others uttered “very, very green and humid” and they could not help filming the greenery outside the bus on the road to Ekasup Cultural Village before yesterday. The words came from the first Turkish tourists to visit Port Vila under the new no visa requirement policy approved by the current Government at the end of last year. There were three children in the group and three adult women and an elderly man.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mackley's explosive expedition starts

Geoff Mackley, a dare-devil film maker and photographer from New Zealand who loves to get up close to boiling lava, perched his camp and filming crew atop Ambrym's Mt Marum on January 18th 2014, to kick start his expedition at the summit and capture footages inside the volcano where no-one has ever filmed. Well no-one but Mackley himself. His incredible footage which he got of himself just meters away from the molten lava inside Mt Marum, in 2012 has been watched by up to 3 million viewers. Visit Mackley's website here.

Islandtime Magazine offers promotional opportunity

Islandtime Magazine a very popular trade publication promoting the Pacific through out New Zealand and Australia, will be including a major feature on Vanuatu in the March/April issue. The feature will be promoting Vanuatu as a relaxing, exciting and friendly destination for all.  The magazine features Vanuatu twice a year and offers Vanuatu Tourism operators and hoteliers a great opportunity to be promoted to over 8000 key industry especially in this perfect timing, pre-winter! The magazine has a strong and loyal readership. Industry operators can contact Fran McDermott at Islandtime, for more information on advertising opportunities. Email . Mob 021 557 170. Visit and

Air Vanuatu & Air New Zealand increase services

Media release 22 January 2014: Air Vanuatu’s codeshare agreement with Air New Zealand has expanded to include an additional weekly flight to Auckland. The Air New Zealand operated flight will depart each Friday from 25 April, with tickets on sale at Air Vanuatu from now. “The additional Auckland service takes the number of direct flights to Auckland to four a week,” Chief Executive Officer Joseph Laloyer said. “We have a great partnership with Air New Zealand and look forward to our continued working relationship with them.” Air Vanuatu operates its own aircraft to Auckland on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Air New Zealand flights will be Friday and Sunday. Media inquiries: Tiffany Carroll tel +678 7747153.

TripAdvisor Awards 2014 – The Havannah makes it within the top 25 for both Romance and Luxury

For immediate release 24 Jan 2014: The TripAdvisor 2014 awards were released a few days ago where by TripAdvisor itself filtered through millions of travellers reviews to source their users favourite hotels. The top reviews are divided into appropriate categories to discover the top product for the year.  TripAdvisor proudly announced more than 7,000 properties worldwide that were to receive awards under following categories: Top hotels, B&B’s, Family, Luxury, Romance, Bargains and Small Hotels. 

Blokart Vanuatu closes

Blokart Vanuatu business will cease operating at the end of January after running for 2 years in Port Vila. The tour added unique and fun experiences to visitors holiday and the blokarts were made in New Zealand to very high standards and have been engineered to provide amazing performance and great holiday experiences. The VTO wishes Management of Blokart Vanuatu all the best in their next adventure. All karts, sails, plants, equipment and site are on sale. Email or phone +678 7786056 for more information.

Vanuatu dives into phase 2 of photo shoot

Photo © David Kirkland.
"Next up...Tanna" 
The VTO is thrilled to be having David Kirkland return soon to shoot 2nd phase of Vanuatu Tourism's new image gallery. Phase 1 transpired in June last year which focused on Pentecost and Espiritu Santo where David shot, with a fun twist, iconic experiences & traditions of Vanuatu such as the land diving and President Coolidge.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

VTO Europe attends Travel Show in Norway

The Reiselivsmessen was held in Oslo Norway at the Tenenor Arena Events Centre this month. The VTO shared a stand with Reisse Bazaar, a large Oslo based Tour Operator, after the managing director, Mr Thor, traveled to Vanuatu a few times and was keen to promote the destination. VTO European rep Ms Jeanette Baude arrived a day prior to the show and helped to decorate the stand. It was the largest stand shared with Ethiad airways, several dive operators, South Africa, and Adventure Tours. Vanuatu had a good presence not only at the stand but also at a Tiki bar decorated with the Tanna grass skirts, fans, and the destination video was played on several large screens along the arena walls so all 46,000 visitors were able to watch wherever they were which provided excellent exposure.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Going all out LOCAL - Port Vila Community Handicrafts

VTO was impressed after a quick sneaky peak inside the recently launched Port Vila Community Handicrafts market on Friday 17 January. VTO’s team of 4, led by the General Manager Ms Linda Kalpoi, were excited with what they saw when they returned with big smiles and gifts after the visit.  Entering the market beams with vibrant colors and a fine range of 100% local products from island style hand painted attires to jewelry made from only local accessories and materials. During the welcome, Ms Kalpoi said, “It is good to see such wonderful Ni-Vanuatu talents shine in these treasures. Our mamas have put in a lot of effort in their works and to be able to walk into a handicrafts market to see only 100% Ni-Vanuatu creativity and products is just great and will definitely thrill our tourists as well as us locals. Well done to the committee for a great initiative!”

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Daly's Cruising the South Pacific of Dreams

Read a story from travel writer, Michael Daly, who writes about his cruise experience from New Caledonia to Vanuatu in his "Cruising the south Pacific of dreams".

HOTSPOTS Vouchers Launch

Press Release: Local marketing company Pandanus Consulting launched a new marketing initiative this week. Their new product offers special deals at over 50 local businesses to tourists and locals in Port Vila.  “In a competitive market where there is a lot of choice, successful businesses look to stand out” say the Pandanus directors Nicky Barnes and Jackie Potgieter. “Hotspots Voucher books allow companies to promote their business and differentiate themselves from their competition by showcasing appealing offers directly to interested clients”.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Air Vanuatu takes off for maintenance check

06 January 2014 media release: Air Vanuatu’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft will be returning to Singapore on 13 January for one week for an engine swap. In September an engine on the aircraft was removed for servicing and a leased engine was installed in order to ensure the shortest downtime for the aircraft possible. That lease has now been completed and the airline’s own engine will be refitted on 14 January. The aircraft is expected to return to service by 21 January.

Beachfront Resort managed by Stay-Vanuatu

Stay-Vanuatu Ltd. has been contracted by the owner of the Beachfront Resort in Santo, to manage the resort. The company is managing the resort under the same business name, but under the umbrella of Stay Vanuatu and looks forward to keeping a good relationship to all business partners, guests and friends of the Beachfront Resort. Beachfront's contacts are now Jörg M. Schwartze, email and Daniel Faivre  

Evergreen Tours starts 2014 with a double

Evergreen Tours welcomed their New Year with two cruise ships in town which were the P & O cruise boat and their very own vessel MS Caledonian Sky, both arriving in Port Vila harbor on 1st January around lunchtime. Passengers disembarked at the seafront and were greeted with the warm smiles of Evergreen tour guides and drivers.

How giving back can be the most rewarding experience of ones life

Written by Desiree Tibbs, NorthWest Sales Manager, Dolphin Adventues (a U.S. Tour operator): I have visited Vanuatu twice,  to Port Vila and Espiritu Santo, but it is the island of Tanna that has stolen my heart.  When I went to Tanna in 2012, I was able to visit Lowinia Kustom Village as one of the very special tour offerings from the White Grass Resort.  It was a new tour, beautifully handled by Annie (the Chief's wife), see in the photo with me.  At the time I asked her if she ever thought about all the children going to school?  

Ministry allows Turkish visitors in without visa

Caption: L-r:  VTO Marketing Manager Allan Kalfabun, Vanuatu’s Honourary Consul to Turkey Mehmet Atar and a secretary to the Turkish Airline’s CEO     
By Len Garae, Daily Post published on 8th January 2014: Vanuatu has opened a new page with the Republic of Turkey in tourism, now that the biggest stumbling block has been removed to allow Turkish visitors into the country without any visa requirement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade has assured the Turkish Embassy in Canberra that in line with the current Immigration Act, Turkish citizens do not need a visa to enter the country as tourists. The Ministry said it will inform the Embassy of any future changes.  

Turkish professionals to visit Vanuatu

Caption: Kalfabun discussing with Turkish Travel Association representative in Istanbul
By Len Garae, Daily Post published 7th January 2014:  A Turkish group of an unspecified number of professionals is visiting Vanuatu on January 17. The group arrives as tourists to enjoy the local hospitality, cuisine, golfing, environment and its people who were twice voted “the happiest people on the planet”. While the planned visit has yet to provide more details, Honourary Consul Mehmet Atar says from Istanbul that it has been announced based on promotions that he has made to promote Vanuatu to the people of Turkey.