Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lapita Cafe - Nothing beats Local!

By Alcina Charlie, Senior Communications and e-marketing: On Tuesday 24th June 2014, a handful of us VTO staff, dropped by at the humble home slash factory of Lapita Cafe to see why their products are loved by so many, even including world renown chef and author Robert Oliver who has been coming to Vanuatu since 2011, just to cook & film side by side with the company owner Mrs Vatausi McKenzie, including several other Ni-Vanuatu chefs who have all taken Vanuatu local food and cuisine to the next level. In both episodes of chef Robert's TV series "Real Pasifika" Mrs McKenzie boasts her own recipes and highlights preparing and serving delicious laplap with chicken and fresh tomatoes and herbs, locally spiced marinated octopus with curry leaves and coconut cream served with yam simboro and breadfruit nalot. Yum! This has made Lapita Cafe stand out as the champion in utilizing and cooking Vanuatu local foods.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Zealand visitors increase in May

June 24th media release: Vanuatu has just experienced a record month of May for visitors from NZ.  NZ Department of Statistics have just reported 2,820 NZ residents visited Vanuatu in May 2014 an increase of 139% on May 2013 which more than balances out the previous month which showed a decline of 31% in April 2014. New Zealand visitor numbers are reporting an 18% growth for January to May 2014 on the previous year and forward bookings are showing promise from this market.  Vanuatu currently sits as the 4th most popular South Pacific Destination for Kiwis to visit behind Fiji, Cook Island and Samoa.  New Zealand is a market with huge potential for visitor growth, over 100,000 kiwis visit Fiji every year and over 60,000 visit the Cook Islands. The VTO have had a number of tactical campaigns in the NZ market place partnering with both Air Vanuatu and Air New Zealand and various Retail Partners which have shown excellent results which are being reflected in the May results. Prepared by:  Jacquie Carson – NZ Representative VTO. 

Wan Smolbag 25th Anniversary International Theatre Festival

25 years ago, back in 1989, a group of 4 young actors called themselves, Wan Smolbag Theatre. They wanted to show they could take plays anywhere and everywhere, and they only needed a small bag! Two of those actors, Charleon Falau and Peter Walker are still part of Wan Smolbag and will be joining in the 25th anniversary festivities. Since those early days, Smolbag has been to most islands of Vanuatu and to many other Pacific countries, from Papua New Guinea to Palau. Theatre is still a major part of what Smolbag does, but that isn't all these days. In partnership with Australian Aid and New Zealand Aid Programme, Wan Smolbag works with youth through the Yut Senta in Vila, Haulua Senta in Pentecost and Northern Care Youth Centre (NCYC) in Luganville, and with the help of the Ministry of Health, runs reproductive health clinics in Via and Luganville. Australian Aid recently built a new Kam Pussum Hed Reproductive Health Clinic in Vila, which is dispensing family planning and STI treatment to more clients than ever. 

ANZ donates Vt1 million towards Tok Tok Vanuatu

Caption:  L-r: TokTok Chairman Thomas Thait, VTO GM Kalpoi, ANZ Acting CEO Beren, VTO Marketing Manager Global Allan Kalfabun and ANZ Manager Tourism Aloha Nafuki.
June 18, By Len Garae of Daily Post:  ANZ Head of Commercial Banking and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Stuart Beren, has handed over a cheque for Vt1 million to the Chairman of Tok Tok Vanuatu, Thomas Thait who is also Chairman of Vanuatu Hotels and Resorts Association and VTO General Manager Linda Kalpoi in the Bank’s Board Room yesterday. The donation, the biggest so far from Tok Tok Vanuatu’s traditional sponsor for the last twelve years, reflects the rising confidence that ANZ has in the future of the tourism industry in the country. Asked what ANZ gets out of the sponsorship, the Acting CEO says it is a corporate responsibility and is also about connecting customers to other customers so it meets that criteria in Vanuatu. 

Vanuatu Cruising – Discover What Matters....Vanuatu

A new perspective is being given to Vanuatu as the ultimate cruising destination. The Vanuatu Tourism Office, in conjunction with the Department of Tourism, are developing a new Cruising Vanuatu Guide and supporting website. The aim is to promote Vanuatu as a cruising destination, encouraging more yachts to discover this amazing island archipelago. Recognising the value of yachts, both in the form of direct income to its remote outer islands as well as the amount of aid given by yachts, the Vanuatu Tourism Office is giving the face of cruising in Vanuatu an update with a comprehensive and freely accessible Yachting Guide. 

Travel Managers Australia enjoy Vanuatu!

For release: Vanuatu Tourism Office Australia hosted a dedicated Travel Managers famil in Vanuatu week before last, showcasing the islands of Efate, Espiritu Santo and Tanna.  The famil was supported by VTO, Air Vanuatu and the industry to highlight the very best of Vanuatu as well as the abundance of activities available.  The 13 Travel Managers stayed at properties in Port Vila; Warwick Le Lagon; Iririki Island Resort and Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu. Half the group stayed at Tanna Lodge on Tanna and the other half stayed at Oyster Island Resort on Espiritu Santo for one night. The exciting, jam-packed famil saw the agents undertake site inspections, sample cuisine at different resorts and restaurants, try the off road buggy riding in Port Vila as well as visit the popular Mele Cascades. On the outer islands they took in the mighty Mount Yasur volcano on Tanna and stunning blue holes and waterfalls on Espiritu Santo.

Vanuatu Tourism Office launches new trade micro-site and online training in Australia

Following on from the success of the Australian roadshow at the end of April, Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) Australia has launched a practical trade micro-site , designed specifically to educate and inform travel agents about the destination.  The site also features the newly launched online training, powered by “Your Workshops”, where agents who complete the training to become a Vanuatu specialist are given the chance to win a place on a famil trip at the end of the year. In a move to add more colour and character to the usual format of a trade site, the VTO has partnered with passionate Vanuatu advocate, Channel Nine TODAY show presenter, Steven Jacobs featuring some travel experiences and tips from him.

Air Vanuatu joins forces with Jetstar

19 June 2014 Media Release: Air Vanuatu’s Chief Executive Officer Joseph Laloyer has announced a new partnership with Jetstar in New Zealand. From today, Kiwi tourists and Vanuatu residents will be able to purchase through fares from Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Queenstown to Port Vila. The New Zealand domestic flights will be operated by Jetstar New Zealand, connecting with Air Vanuatu in Auckland every Wednesday and Saturday. “It is imperative to the growth of our New Zealand market that we offer fares to major regional centres. We are confident our new partnership with Jetstar will contribute to this growth,” Mr. Laloyer said. 

Vanuatu winner on Nova 969

Vanuatu winner on Nova 969: The Vanuatu Tourism Office in Australia, has had great success over the past weeks with an exciting NOVA 969 Sydney radio competition. To win, listeners simply had to listen out for the month of their birthday to be called, ring into the station and if the wheel landed on the callers’ day of birth, the holiday was theirs. The competition promoted Vanuatu with a holiday prize give away that ran across the very popular Fitzy & Wippa breakfast program, Rabbit’s show and Harlee’s show with the promotion running all day from 6am to 4pm, gaining the vast attention of 933,000 listeners. In addition to the on-air promotion, Vanuatu was also showcased on the Nova 969 website and had promotions running every hour talking up what it would be like to win the trip. And the winner is Michelle Aitken. Nova & VTO Australia contacted and congratulated her last week. Thanks to partners The Terrace Boutique Apartments and Air Vanuatu for their involvement that has resulted in a fantastic exposure for Vanuatu.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Department of Tourism to present the Vanuatu Tourism Product Classification System

The Department of Tourism (DOT) will be presenting to industry stakeholders, including the VTO, a draft of the Vanuatu Tourism Product Classification System for discussion and approval before it is presented to the Vanuatu Tourism Standards Committee for the official endorsement. This Product Classification System is very important to the tourism industry and country because it will define what each product is in the context of Vanuatu.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Floral shades, gardens and art at Vanuatu Holiday Hotel

By Alcina Charlie, VTO Senior Communications & eMarketing: How marvelous nature's floral drapes hung over the rails as we walked up to the rooms Ms Giovanni prepared to show the team. Vanuatu Holiday Hotel has 26 rooms & apartments (fan cooled and air conditioned)  ideal for families, small groups, business travelers as well as budget conscious travelers. Just less than a kilometer from the town center and only a 10 minute walk, Vanuatu Holiday Hotel is conveniently located next to the major supermarket Au Bon Marche, and a variety of restaurants are only next door.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Internationally Awarded Musical Island Boys to perform at Wan Smol Bag, Friday 20th June.

New Zealand's International Award-Winning Barbershop Quartet . The Musical Island Boys are an acapella quartet, who combine four-part harmonic excellence with the class and elegance of their Pacific roots, delivering high-energy performances to audiences worldwide. Their talent for entertaining and inspiring internationally with their soaring harmony is backed by a rock solid foundation of over 50 years of combined, real-world experience as International performers.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ms Rie Doyama continues to shine for Vanuatu

Above: Ms Rie Doyama (right) and the General Manager of the Vanuatu Tourism Office, Mrs Linda Kalpoi (left) at a press interview in Tokyo, Japan.
In the past 2 years, Ms Rie Doyama who is Vanuatu Tourism's Goodwill Ambassador to Japan, has promoted the destination to thousands of Japanese tourists. Upon the signing of her new role as Vanuatu/Japan Goodwill Ambassador in 2012, Ms Rie Doyama has regularly been keeping the VTO in the loop, with Media campaigns on regional newspapers and television she runs to attract Japanese travellers to Vanuatu. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Vanuatu in the heart and mind of an artist

By Claudia Sannio, Artist: My family and I visited Vanuatu in 2013.  Our experiences on your untouched tropical paradise will forever live in our memories!  We stayed at the wonderful Holiday Inn Resort with breathtaking surroundings and the most loving and helpful people. We were lucky to meet and befriend Chief Sam and his cousin.  They took us to various places outside the resort including wonderful waterfalls, Eton Beach, Blue Lagoon, Turtle Bay and Hideaway Island.  We also visited a school with the resort and spoke to locals.  We concluded that the people of Vanuatu are one of the most happiest group of people and are filled with joy.  On arrival home, I transported myself back to Vanuatu whenever I wanted through the many photographs taken during our glorious 10 day stay.

MS Paul Gaugin comes ashore in Vila this week

Just named one of the "10 Best New Cruise Itineraries of 2014" by Fodor's Travel, this unique voyage on board Paul Gaugin Cruises charts a course to popular as well as undiscovered ports. Vanuatu is featured in the planning and itinerary options for passengers, as being an island chain that inspired James A. Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Tales of the South Pacific. The m/s Paul Gauguin was designed specifically to sail the shallow seas of Tahiti, French Polynesia, and Southeast Asia, visiting small ports that larger ships can't reach and effortlessly blending into the stunning natural beauty of the South Pacific Seas. This week on Tuesday, the 153m long MS Paul Gaugin moored at Vila Wharf disembarking 300 passengers to browse through town, try some of the restaurants and tours.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Vanuatu Ferry here we come!
Vanuatu Ferry, VTO staff & students, colors of the National flag, visually a delight. Click on the image for more photos taken during the visit.
By Alcina Charlie, VTO Senior Communications and E-Marketing: From a distance the Vanuatu Ferry seems to appear in similar shape and size as MV Havanna which used to sail through Vanuatu a few years ago, as well as Big Sista and the lot but goodness, were we in for a big surprise Big time! As we (VTO staff), got up close to the beautiful boat, we discovered that it's actually HUGE! We were knocked out of our socks with its carrying capacity of both cargo (downstairs) which can comfortably fit 15 cars from front to back of the boat, and 100+ passengers spread across the air-conditioned 1st floor and an extra 50 pax on the open top deck. In other words, she is 54 meters long, weighs at 669 gross tonnage, has a top speed of 14 knots and cruising speed of 12 knots, and a dual aft and bow rump system. 

TVET and Department of Tourism sign MOU for 2014/15 TVET tourism training program

Director of Department of Tourism George Borugu seals the MOU by a hand-shake with Ms Anna Gibert,
TVET Sector Strengthening Program Team Leader. 
In 2013, the Australian Government funded TVET Program and the Department of Tourism (DoT) entered into a strategic partnership through a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the development of Ni-Vanuatu businesses in the tourism sector in the outer islands through improved training, industry coaching and coordination.