May 2006

The Travel Bug - Issue 15

New 4-Star Hotel and Casino for Vila

The 4-star Le Grand Hotel and Casino on the Port Vila waterfront in Vanuatu has been bought by investors in Iririki Island Resorts and Spa. The luxury 74-room property is adjacent to Iririki’s Port Vila jetty and has been unoccupied and looking for an operator since being built in 2003. It will offer guests spectacular uninterrupted views of the harbour, Iririki Island, and sunset views.

Opening early July under of one of Vanuatu’s most-experience and long-term hotel General Managers, Sydney Grace who was formerly with The Melanesian Port Vila. Le Grand Hotel and Casino is a few minutes level walk from Port Vila’s duty-free shops, restaurants, markets and major tour operators, and will have a restaurant, 4-bars, 2-conference rooms, gym, and a choice of standard rooms, suites, executive suites and penthouses. Rooms will go on sale from early May through Australian and New Zealand travel agents. (Source: David Ellis Associates 03/04/2006)

Historical Land Dive Gets Underway

The 2006 Nagol Ceremony is has begun. The platform is made of wood and covered with leaves purposely to protect the platform from the sun drying it out before the ceremony. The leaves are removed by the jumper before the jump. The liana vines which are tied to the ankle and very elastic following the wet season, are shredded and the other end tied to the tower. It is also a fertility rite.

Every year in April, when the first yam crop is ready, the islanders on the south of the island start building a huge tower for the land diving. It takes about 5 weeks to build, all materials come from the forest: lianas, branches, trunks.... Eventually a wooden tower between 20 to 30 meters high is erected. Each diver must select his own vine. Its size is of utmost importance and if it is only 10 cm too long, the diver could hit the ground and possibly break his neck. As the vines stretch at the end of the dive, the land diver's heads curl under and their shoulders touch the earth, making it fertile for the following year's yam crop.

For ONE-Day outing to Pentecost - cost covers return fares i.e. VLI/PENTECOST/VLI, admission fees to the jump site, picnic lunch + day use of the boat. Drinks and snacks available onboard. (For further information see Land Dive section on http://www.resort-vanuatu.com/activities.htm )

Telecom Vanuatu Round Island Relay Prepares for July

Looking for a challenging break for your cross country club? Then why not combine great sun soaking tropical holiday, unique cultural experience and a good round island run, at the Telecom Vanuatu Round Island Relay. This 10 person relay challenge sets the course around Efate Island where capital Port Vila is located.

The race starts at down town Post Office and ends at the entrance of the independence celebrations venue which usually holds a loud, from all the excitement, and cheerful public waiting to receive the runners. This year, the Relay will take place on Saturday 29th July. Roads vary from tar sealed to rugged coral & dirt roads, passing through traditional villages, mountain rain forest, crossing crystal clear streams and through coconut plantations. Latter stages of the race take runners along the edge of coral reefs and white sand beaches offering some of the most breathtaking views you'll ever encounter.

So whether your team is racing for a top place finish and cash prize, or simply aiming to get around Efate island, you will have a fantastic time in experiencing Vanuatu tropics, the local hospitality and friendship, and a unique South Pacific culture. For more information, contact Joe on (678) 22685. Email trade@tourism.vu. (Source: Vanuatu Tourism Tribal Drum February – March 2006)

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