Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sailors choose Vanuatu

News source Vanuatu Daily Post, Wednesday 26th November 2014 issue: Click on left screen shot for full viewing.

Notable sponsors support Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence 2014

November 28, 2014 media release – Rallying behind the tourism sector, renowned local businesses are signing up as sponsors for the upcoming Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence, open for entries from all tour and accommodation providers across the country. With the deadline for entries extended to Monday 8 December, notable sponsors are signing up to support individual awards across a variety of categories, judged by a panel consisting of international and local experts. Air Vanuatu and the Daily Post are lending their valued support as the airline sponsor and media partner, while Your is producing all multimedia content. Individual award categories, such as luxury accommodation, cultural and eco tours, adventure activity and front of house, will be sponsored by AON insurance brokers, P&O Cruises, Adventures in Paradise and the Vanuatu Hotels and Resorts Association respectively. “The Tourism Awards are very excited and grateful to have such a high caliber of generous sponsors,” said Linda Kalpoi, Chairlady of the Westpac Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence Committee and General Manager of the Vanuatu Tourism Office.

Vanuatu launches international product - Lapita’s Tamarind Chutney

From l-r: Mary Narfi Navaika (Ministry of Trade and Industries EO), Ms Astrid Boulekon of  Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce, Prof. Helen Wallace of Sunshine Coast University, Vatausi McKenzie of Lapita Cafe, rep for Ministry of Trade and Industries DG, and Ioan Viji of Department of Forestry. 
Article & photo by Alcina Charlie, Senior Communications & E-Marketing for VTO: The official launching of Lapita’s Tamarind Chutney, which took place this week on Wednesday 26th November, is a result of more than 2 years of value chain research and development work in the tamarind industry with financial and technical support from Pacific Agribusiness for Development Initiative (PARDI), a program funded by AusAID through the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR). This is a milestone achievement for Vanuatu as a first ever Vanuatu & Australian Government funded project, that has been trialed, tested and piloted by Lapita, passing standards legislation of the Australian export/traded goods, Vanuatu's very own first international product. "It's a proud moment for the whole country, and also the Ni-Vanuatu communities who are living in Australia will be able to enjoy Tamarind chutney from home sweet home" beams Ms Votausi MacKenzie, Lapita's visionary business owner.

Monday, November 24, 2014

2014 Hokulani Garden Show

This year the Hokulani Dance Troupe will be holding its 3rd annual event on Saturday 6th December 2014 from 3.00pm-6.30pm. The Garden show will be a casual family outdoors event and will therefore be staged at the Bred Bank gym. The organizers are proud to once again showcase the group's hard work throughout the year. 'Hokulani' which means ‘Stars from heaven" in Hawaiin, got established in 2005 with 6 ladies dedicated to spread their passion of Polynesian entertainment to the Vanuatu community. Nine years later the troupe has grown to approximately 25 members. The troupe performs to various Tahitian and Hawaiian melodies. Bring your mats / picnic blankets for a relaxing outing! A simple BBQ, drinks and great raffle prizes will be on sale throughout the Garden show. Should you have any further enquiries, contact Lisa Faivre on mobile +678 7120190, Sandra Guyot on +678 7766220, Vivian Wong on +678 7741688. Email: Visit

Jump Start Foundation and Vanuatu, a special love affair

Melissa's Story of Support (by Melissa Fairbairn): This is Caroline (and I), a teacher at Epau primary school, Efate Island Vanuatu who was delighted to receive an assortment of teaching aids included in the education packs taken over to Vanuatu by Jump Start Foundation (JSF) group of volunteers who travelled there in July 2014. I was delighted to have the job of sourcing the supplies to be included in the education packs that we gave to the students at Epau and the teaching aids. Each child received a bag containing stationery such as pencils, exercise books, scissors and many other items. The Education packs also included two literacy activity books and a dictionary for each child. 

VTO participates at DEMA 2014

Sue Herrick converses with dive wholesaler, MaryJane  Augustine of Dolphin Destiny Adventures, after successfully signing for a group of 16 divers for October next year.
Ms Sue Herrick, VTO representative for the Northern Americas and USA market promoted the destination at the DEMA Show 2014 from November 19-22 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. VTO has been a part of this dive trade show for many years and shares its booth location with Fiji, Australia, Tahiti and Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific section. In addition to manning the booth, Sue makes time to visit all the wholesalers selling dive travel to the South Pacific, and is on the lookout for operators and those looking to new destinations in the future.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wik Blong Vanuatu a huge success

Week Blong Vanuatu this year kept Place des Cocotiers in Noumea, New Caledonia, pulsating and full of energy from Thursday 13th to Saturday 15th November. During the trade fair, participants of the tourism industry from Vanuatu joined the VTO representative Martine Robin to promote the destination by talking about what Vanuatu offers to its holiday seekers, handing out destination brochures as well as enticing consumers into booking special holiday packages that will be running until end of March 2015.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Touramex New Caledonia tours to Vanuatu

Last week, the VTO was busy coordinating New Caledonia's Touramex famil, a group of 6 travel agents, who flew to Port Vila on Wednesday 12 November and left on Sunday. After experiencing a wholesome representation of what Vanuatu can offer to its French New Caledonian market, the agents are now refreshed with new and exciting products to add to holiday packages suited for that market. The team was split into two groups with one group flying to Malekula and the other to Espiritu Santo, where they were fascinated about the traditions and culture of both islands, including pleasurable soft adventures offered on both these islands. In Malekula, highlight activities included visiting the Small Nambas at Rano and Hone Vaghal at Vao, a stop over at Amelbati Cannibal Site & Chiefs Grave, Copra & sightseeing tour, Losinwei cascades and waterfall walk, and going on the Big nambas tribal tour. On Espiritu Santo, Group 2 couldn't get enough of Champagne beach, the blue hole, Riri river canoeing, as well as enjoyed panoramic sights around Luganville and outskirts.

Monday, November 17, 2014

High Commissioners host pre-cyclone cocktail

Australian and New Zealand High Commissioners Jeremy Bruer (left) and Georgina Roberts (right).
On the evening of Thursday 13th November, the Vanuatu Tourism Office was invited to attend a special function hosted by the Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer at his beautiful residence on Elluk Plateau over looking towards Erakor island. 
Around 50 private sector business men and women, including Management of Promedical and NDMO, gathered at the High Commissioner's residence for talks on safety measures during cyclone season. 

Vanuatu welcomes Betty Emma

Three days after Air Vanuatu’s newly purchased ATR72-500 "Betty Emma" departed Kuala Lumpur bound for Port Vila, her journey ended with a splendid welcome ceremony of the aircraft on Wednesday last week. VTO was invited to witness Betty Emma's maiden arrival at the Bauerfield airport, alongside Government officials and Air Vanuatu stakeholders as well as industry partners.

Fogarty becomes Chantilly's new Food & Beverage Manager

Media release: Salon Culinaire 2014 is over and Chantilly’s On The Bay, is pleased to welcome James Fogarty to the team as Food and Beverage Manager. The name sounds familiar??  James snuck back in just before Vanuatu’s premier hospitality event and is now settled in. James comes with a unique background and skillset having been born on Efate, schooled at Escole Francaise, Port Vila and finishing with boarding school at King’s College, Auckland, NZ. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

News from Warwick Le Lagon Resort & Spa, Port Vila, Vanuatu

Much has happened at the Warwick Le Lagon Resort in Vanuatu. Here are a few exciting updates from the resort: The resort now has a New Events & Weddings Manager Ms Sasha Eburne, the resort's "Funtastik Kids Club" has undergone a makeover to provide kids of most ages something fun and exciting to do during their stay. This includes adding a kids Mini cinema, Mini kitchen with cooking classes and a PS3 gaming room.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Last joins Department of Tourism

Miss Rebecca Last has just joined the Department of Tourism (DOT) taking on the Technical Advisor role (under the Australian Volunteer for International Development program). Last commenced her role on the 3rd November and she will work for 12 months, alongside Mr Jerry Spooner (Principal Accreditation Officer for DOT) to provide support and way forward within the Tourism Accreditation Division. Ms Last, originally from England before moving to Melbourne in 2000, has background and experience in Destination adventure travel (15 years of experience) specializing in Asia and more recently managing Technical Advisors placed within Pacific Island Governments.

Taste buds tantalized by talented student chefs!

My Kumala gnocchi, extra delicious!
By Alcina Charlie, VTO Senior e-marketing and Communications: After a full on and enjoyable week at the Salon Culinaire, I was shouted a delicious lunch at Nabanga Restaurant at the Tourism school HTLTC (Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Training Centrer) as I told one of  the trainer's I was very happy to snap up a few photos to support their image library. When my husband and I arrived, we got a pleasant welcome at the entrance of the restaurant by the Supervisor of the Day, Ms Joana Liu, and she greeted us with a big bright smile and the ambience that followed subsided my over-worked nerves and got me all chill-axed, if there's such a word. Our duty waitress was Jennifer and she was very detailed in explaining what was on the menu which we very much appreciated.

Tour Pacific marks Vanuatu an "All in One"

Mr Bador and Ms Josefin at Vila Chaumieres.
The Vanuatu Tourism Office has been busy coordinating as well as hosting a number of trade and media groups that have arrived in Port Vila in the last 2 weeks. One of the groups was a Swedish wholesaler, Tour Pacific, that puts together holiday packages for islands throughout the South Pacific. Ms Josefin Palmen, was here with her partner from 29th October to 05th November and discovered Vanuatu boasting a bit of everything from all the pacific islands. According to VTO’s Trade Manager, Mr Sebastien Bador who hosted the Swedish wholesaler on the final night before their departure, he comments, “Ms Josefin was very excited on future prospects of selling holiday packages for the islands of Vanuatu.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cookies that make you go Mmm..

By Alcina Charlie, VTO Senior Communications & e-Marketing. After chatting with Mrs Vatausi McKenzie of Lapita Cafe about what was in the pipeline for our Australian Media crew arriving the next day, it was time for... drum roll please... some coffee! "Would you like a cookie with your coffee?" she asked. "I would love one thanks" I replied. Next thing you know, a saucer came with some Lapita Coconut Ginger cookies on it, and oh my, the taste still lingers as I write which goes something along the lines of absolutely delisioso! crunchy, sweet, fresh, wholesome, homely, and best of all... the ginger gave my palates a pleasant kick, and because I like anything and everything spicy, I was very happy with the ginger (thanks Lapita)!

Gourmet writers can't get enough of Vanuatu

Group photo before gearing up for abseiling.
Even the heavy downpour didn't wash away the fun nor bright smiles that beamed across to the camera through what almost seemed as torrential rain on Friday last week. The VTO hosted an Australian media group of 4 travel/cuisine writers, Jane Ash
Annie Dang, Chee Peng Law and Melissa Matheson, primarily focusing on culinary with a twist for culture and adventure. Ms Naomi Joyce who is the Australian Media Representative for the VTO led the team to Port Vila after weeks of coordinating with Head Office in Vila to organize the group's itinerary highlighting the gourmet/cuisine of Vanuatu including tours and activities from 06th to 10th November. Readership in total for all 4 writers writing for Billy Law – A table for Two, John Burfitt Jamaica Blue’s Escape magazine, TV Soap magazine, Rowena Ryan travel section, and Fairfax Travel (Traveller on Sunday), covers over 800,000 to a million plus subscribers which is excellent exposure for Vanuatu. With this, VTO would like to sincerely thank the following industry colleagues who have generously supported the group's itinerary Air Vanuatu, Iririki Island Resort, Evergreen Tours, Tanna Coffee, Edge Vanuatu, Nafonu Tatoka Tours, Au Fare Restaurant, Au Peche Mignon Restaurant, Lapita Cafe, Adventures in Paradise, Meridian Charters, L'Houstalet Restaurant, Kayaking Vanuatu, and Tamanu on the Beach.

David Kirkland's Best of 2014

Posted 01 Nov 2014: I know, it's a bit early to call but I have back-to-back assignments starting this week so I thought this might be a good time to post a selection of some of my favourite images from 2014. Apart from sharing the photos, posting them like this provides me with the opportunity to readily review the year's work and look for ways to broaden and improve my style and refine it to the needs of my clients. Destinations featured in the selection include South Africa, Vanuatu, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Samoa and Australia. My promotional cycle starts this week and, with six assignments already booked for 2015, it's shaping up to be an equally busy year. Click to view Kirkland's Bests for 2014.

MineTan launches Win a Holiday for Two to Vanuatu

 MineTan along with Air Vanuatu, Vanuatu Tourism and Villa 25 are giving guests the chance to experience the beauty of Vanuatu - an archipelago of 83 islands with stunning beaches, pristine waterfalls and friendly people. Win return economy flights to Port Vila with Air Vanuatu for two people and four nights at Villa 25 in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Includes a chance to win one of five Mine Tan summer tanning packs. The promotion has gone live with MineTan and Priceline stores until the end of January 2015. Like the competition and get a chance to win (go to Mine Tan Body Skin on Facebook).

What’s Your Holiday Experience? Share it with us

“You’re tired and stressed, your phone screen just cracked and you’re out of milk. You need a holiday! But what type of holiday do you need?  Luckily for you Vanuatu offers everything from adventure and culture to relaxation and luxury. Take a quick quiz to find out which experience is best for you" . Vanuatu Tourism Office Australia is running a social media campaign to create awareness of the different types of holiday that are on offer in Vanuatu.  

Want to Win a trip to Vanuatu?

There’s nothing that Kate, Tim & Marty love more than holidays! So this week they’ve teamed up with their mates at Vanuatu Tourism… and they’ve got 5 tropical island holidays to be won! Everyday this week we’re giving you the chance to fly Air Vanuatu to a tropical island, to stay 5 nights at The Holiday Inn Vanuatu courtesy of our mates at Flight Centre. To win, we need YOU to answer 'Who’s in our VAN-uatu?' Kate, Tim & Marty have found a celebrity hiding in their Kombi on a beach in Vanuatu… and it’s your job to work out who! Simply register your details below…

Espiritu Santo and Tanna Workshops help outer islands operators to enter tourism awards

By Sara King: Workshops were held in Luganville and Tanna this week to provide hotel, bungalow and tour operators with information on how to enter the Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence. With entries now open and closing on December 1, operators from across Vanuatu are encouraged to apply the national program. In Tanna, fifteen island bungalow and tour operators attended the workshop organized in partnership with the Department of Tourism, where they were guided through the process and given entry booklets to fill out.  
Published in Daily Post 3rd November 2014.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Entries open for Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence October 28 – December 1

The Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence 2014 are accepting entries from tour and accommodation operators from across the country. Operators are invited to submit their entries into a variety of 12 categories, designed to align each award with all areas of the tour and accommodation industry. 
Accommodation and tour operators can attend on November 6 or November 19, 2014 in Port Vila. Espiritu Santo Workshop for Tourism Awards for Excellence to be held on Wednesday, November 5.