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Page: Travel Bug 18 - August 2006 Vanuatu travel news

The Travel Bug 18

Issue 18 - August 2006

Air New Zealand Adds Vanuatu to its Pacific Island Network

Vanuatu will become the ninth Pacific Island destination for Air New Zealand from 5 August 2006 when, subject to NZ Government approval, the airline enters into a bi-lateral code share agreement with Air Vanuatu. Under the agreement, Air New Zealand will initially operate its code on the three services per week currently operated by Air Vanuatu between Auckland and Port Vila.

Then from late October, Air New Zealand will operate an A320 service one day a week and Air Vanuatu will operate two B737 services per week. Air New Zealand will continue to retain its code on the two Air Vanuatu services. Air New Zealand Group General Manager Short Haul Airlines, Norm Thompson said the airline was pleased to be able to add Vanuatu to its portfolio of South Pacific holiday destinations.

"We welcome this relationship with Air Vanuatu and see it as an opportunity to offer our leisure customers an additional choice when planning their tropical island holiday. "Only some three hours from Auckland, Vanuatu is growing in popularity as an island destination and, given our robust South Pacific network, it makes sense for Air New Zealand to commit its own aircraft to operate a service once a week from our next schedule change," said Mr Thompson. Air Vanuatu CEO, Captain Terry Kerr said the airline welcomed Air New Zealand as a partner on the route and added the new service will create more exposure and interest for Vanuatu as a growing destination in New Zealand. "After more than a decade flying the route and promoting the destination along with Vanuatu tourism stakeholders, we believe the support and contribution by Air New Zealand will bring another dimension to the tourism development for Vanuatu," said Mr Kerr. (Source: Air New Zealand Media Release 28/06/2006)

Vanuatu and Espiritu Santo Ocean Swims Prove Popular

The 5th Vanuatu Ocean Swim and the 2nd Espiritu Santo Aore Swim held on 17th & 20th June respectively with around 200 swimmers, family & friends travelling to Vanuatu for the events. The Vanuatu Ocean Swim, attracted participants from Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, UK, Canada, USA and Vanuatu and was held in calm conditions around Iririki Island in Port Vila’s picturesque Harbour with the Race starting off Iririki Island Jetty and Finishing at Iririki Island Resort Beach, following a rough diamond shaped course around the island.

The Port Vila event attracted some of the world’s top swimmers including World 200m Freestyle Champion in Montreal last year now residing in New Caledonia, Solene Figues, New Caledonian Champion Benoit Riviere, Australian World Championship Team member, Shelley Clark and fellow top Ocean Swimmers Luanne Rowe, Shane Olliver, Scott Prosser and Peter Thiel. Actual swimmer numbers for the Vanuatu Ocean Swim were slightly down on 2005 with less local resident participants, but the number of family and friends accompanying overseas visitors to the event saw an increase with many staying on for extended holidays around the event to take in the many unique tourism attractions and cultural experiences that Vanuatu has to offer.

After the Vanuatu Ocean Swim a group of 40 swimmers and accompanying family & friends made the trip on Air Vanuatu up to Vanuatu’s ‘Big Island’ of Espiritu Santo for the second running of the Espiritu Santo Aore Swim which crosses the 2.6Km Segond Channel from Unity Park in Luganville to Aore Resort. The Channel can be unpredictable, with South Easterlies blowing up with strong tidal currents and the rough, choppy conditions prevailing on the day, provided a stark contrast to the calm waters of Port Vila and a real Ocean challenge for the 34 Starters. Besides the swim, the group had a busy time sampling the variety of tourist adventures to be had on Espiritu Santo, from the gourmet delights of Oyster Island, swimming Santo’s famed Blue Holes, to the Millennium Caves and diving the Coolidge. Next year’s dates are Saturday 16th June for the Vanuatu Ocean Swim and 19th June for the Espiritu Santo Aore Swim. See www.pacificswims.com for details soon and www.oceanswims.com for a report on this year’s Vanuatu Swims. (Source: South Pacific Sports Promotions 25/06/2006)

PATA Sustainable Tourism Committee Update

At the invitation of the Chairman of the Board and the President & CEO of the Bangkok based Pacific Asia Travel Association, Steve Noakes has accepted a one year extension of his current term as Chair of the PATA Sustainable Tourism Committee (STC). An Adjunct Professor (Tourism) at Griffith University, Steve is the PATA representative for the world’s largest sustainable tourism research organisation, the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre, also headquartered at Griffith University on Australia’s Gold Coast. Founded in 1953, PATA is the leading public private sector association for tourism in the Asia Pacific region. STC has led a significant change to the PATA Mission Statement with the recent AGM in Pattaya, Thailand adding the key words of ‘responsible development’ and ‘the sustainable growth’ to reflect the importance the region’s tourism sector is now placing on the most appropriate forms of future tourism development.

STC has been involved with sustainable tourism campaigns to business, industry and government leaders through channels including Fortune Magazine, address to the European Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific, engagement with ICCROM, the International Centre for the Study of Preservation & Restoration of Cultural Property, UNESCO, Green Globe, National Geographic, Asian Development Bank, GTZ Germany and SNV, Netherlands and others. STC comprises leading tour operators, donor agencies, media, academics, philanthropic and heritage organisations and destination mangers located in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, China, Germany, Australia, Hawaii, California, New York. It aims to assist Asia Pacific destinations and tourism related businesses be aware of and recognize the value of, sustainable tourism benchmarking and certification options. It also aims to improve the integration of the ‘main- stream ’industry in making tourism work better for poverty alleviation in the developing nations of Asia Pacific.

New Green Globe Website Launched

Exciting news. The new Green Globe (www.greenglobe.org) website has arrived. Launched on 19 May, the site comprises three main pages. The Program page is aimed at providing an overview of the Green Globe program for the tourism industry and for those wanting to know more about the background, credentials, networks and resources. There is a Travellers’ page to assist environmentally conscious travellers to find Green Globe Benchmarked and Certified businesses and destinations. The third page is a Participants’ page which allows customers to log in and find all of the resources that they need, as well as having the capacity to upload information and photos about their business. Feedback about the new site has already been positive. Comments from Richard May, Environmental Manager at Sandals were typical of the feedback. "The new GG21 website is much more user-friendly and definitely more impressive than the last one," Richard said. Further comments are welcome from all users as they help the organisation to provide a useful site. (Source: Green Globe Newsletter No. 38, May 2006)

Pacific Casino Hotel Rebuilds – on Solomon Islands

Honiara residents and visitors to Honiara during the Month of June have become aware that the clean up work on the ruins of the burnt down Pacific Casino hotel had rolled into a reconstruction face in just over three months. The momentum of the reconstruction work is a true determination of the owner and director Mr. Patrick Leong to rebuild the accommodation capacity of Honiara and tourism of the Country. An account from the Company states that the Pacific Casino Apartments 8 units will be ready to receive guests early July while the rest of the accommodation wing of the tourism establishment will in full swing by the beginning of 2007. Supreme car Rentals had been operational with the few vehicles that they are left with and the properties Tennis Courts were usable just shortly after clean up were done. (Source: Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau Newsletter Issue 04 – 30/06/2006)

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