January 2008

The Travel Bug - Issue 35

Tourism Marketing Fund for Vanuatu in 2008

In an effort to further develop and promote the growth of tourism industry of Vanuatu, and increase opportunities for sustainable livelihoods for the people of Vanuatu, the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) in conjunction with the Vanuatu Hotels and Resorts Association (VHRA) and the Vanuatu Tour Operators Association and a range of other tourism industry stakeholders have created a “Tourism Marketing Fund”. Becoming effective from 1st April 2008, the Tourism Marketing Fund is to be supported by contributions from member associations, including hotels, duty free stores, tour operators and the finance sector. For more information, click here. (Source: Tribal Drum December 2007)

Vanuatu and Espiritu Santo 2008 Ocean Swims

Each year in early June Vanuatu prepares for an invasion of keen Ocean Swimmers, escaping the southern winter in Australia and New Zealand and exchanging the cold confines of indoor pools, shivers and wetsuits for some expansive warm water swimming, exploration and adventure in and around Port Vila and on Vanuatu’s ‘Big’ Island, Espiritu Santo, taking in the Vanuatu Ocean Swim and three days later the Espiritu Santo Aore Swim.

It’s not only about swimming though, the events in Vila and Espiritu Santo include ‘Swim with the Stars’ clinics where participants can get tips from top world swimmers, there are also welcome and Awards Functions and unique entertainment showcasing the custom and culture of Vanuatu. At the Espiritu Santo Aore Swim there’s also a Traditional Canoe Race held the day before the Swim, running in the opposite direction, from Aore Resort and finishing in front of a large waiting crowd at Unity Park with place getter rewarded with cash prizes presented for various categories.

The race creates a lot of excitement and has helped to rekindle an interest in traditional canoe building skills. Just 40 minutes by plane from port Vila, Espiritu Santo is one of those slightly off-the-beaten-tourist-track destinations that is full of surprises and interesting “discoveries”, from the adventure of Millennium Caves, diving the Coolidge, exploring the famous Blue Holes, Champagne Beach, the cultural experiences of Vil Vil Village to the gourmet delights of Oyster Island, plus, some of the world's nicest places to stay and just relax. Vanuatu is an ocean swimmers paradise, two totally different swim experiences in two contrasting tourist locations, within a few days in the same country, each with a variety of pre and post swim adventures and activities to take in.

Dates for 2008, Vanuatu Ocean Swim Saturday 7th June, Espiritu Santo Aore Swim Tuesday 10th June. For package information from Australia contact Sarah Beeken at Millennium Travel in Sydney Ph 02 9211 0944 Toll Free 1800 622 523 email: sarah@millenniumtravel.com.au. In New Zealand contact Jeremy Shannahan at United Travel Takapuna Ph Ph: 09 4861625 Toll Free 0800 336660 email Jeremy@utdtakapuna.co.nz (Source: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Vanuatu Tourism Awards for 2007

The 2007 Vanuatu tourism awards were recently presented at The Sebel Hotel. Guests enjoyed the magnificent views and custom entertainment at Poolside before moving into the function room especially decorated and presented by the Sebel for the night of nights for Tourism Operators. Committee Chairman Bryan Death opened the evening by welcoming long time general manager of the VTO Linda Kalpoi and Special Guest for the evening Mark Beretta (Chanel 7 Sunrise Sports Anchor). Bryan then welcomed all guests and emphasized the growth in Vanuatu’s tourism arrival both by air and sea as a great signal to operators for the future.

The presentation of awards throughout the evening bought squeals of delight from the winners’ tables. The Special Chairman’s Award for 2007 which recognizes an individual’s service to tourism over time was this year presented to Evergreen Tours Managing Director Philip Malas. In other highlights, the “Best Resort” award was presented to Le Lagon Resort and the “Best Hotel (under 20 rooms)” award was presented to Fatumaru Bay Lodge. (Source: The Independent Newspaper 16 December 2007)

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