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Page: Travel Bug 37 - March 2008 Vanuatu travel news

The Travel Bug 37

Issue 37 - March 2008

Successful South Pacific Seminar in Sydney

south-pacific.travel in collaboration with Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commission in Sydney has hosted a very successful Agent Seminar on Wednesday 12th March at the Grace Hotel in Sydney CBD. There was a total attendance of 65 guests including wholesalers and travel agent reps. Seven member countries participated through a mini trade show and Destination presentations that included the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Niue and Vanuatu.

Prizes were drawn at the conclusion of the seminar, which included a holiday in Vanuatu - courtesy of Air Vanuatu, Le Lagon and Vanuatu Tourism Office and two holiday prizes for the Solomon Islands - courtesy of SkyAirWorld, Dive Gizo, Dive Munda and Lola Island Resort.  All the NTO representatives greatly appreciated the initiative taken by south-pacific.travel to host the seminar, which many described as very timely and valuable. south-pacific.travel also presented its 'South Pacific Specialist' Online Training Program to the audience, which many expressed interest to participate in. (Source: south-pacific.travel Marketing Department)

Airbus 380 Flying to New Zealand

The world's biggest commercial airliner will begin services to Auckland from February next year. Emirates will use the superjumbo Airbus A380 on its trans-Tasman route to link up with the rest of network from February 1. The aircraft will have 489 seats; 14 in first class, 76 in business and 399 in economy. A spokesman said fares had yet to be set. Auckland International Airport has widened its runway and from later this year will have a new pier with airbridges capable of handling passengers from the plane. (Source: New Zealand Herald)

Mount Yasur Volcano Activity

Mount Yasur volcano, on Tanna island in Vanuatu, is one of the world's most active volcanos. During these last days, in early March 2008, Yasur has shown some activity, causing Vanuatu Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources to issue a bulletin about Mt Yasur activity. Approaching the volcano these days should be done with a lot of care. With the current level of activity, the volcano could send hot lava to the crater rim at any time. Therefore, to be safe, they suggest to Tanna and Yasur visitors to observe the volcano from a safe distance - observing it from the nearby parking area would be the safest way to watch the volcano.

VTO Tok Tok in New Caledonia

Vanuatu Tourism Office will be conducting a destination training event in New Caledonia on the 26th, 27th and 28th March 2008. The attendees to TOK TOK Noumea 2008 3-day event will include all travel agents and wholesalers in New Caledonia, as well as a number of key media personnel. This activity represents a unique opportunity for the destination to showcase itself to every travel industry representative in New Caledonia, to give them the tools and knowledge to effectively promote travel to Vanuatu.

The three day event will finish with a trade show (TOK TOK) and cocktail party on Friday the 28th of March where all attendees of the previous three days are invited in addition to a larger media contingent. Display areas will be provided for interested businesses or tourism associations to further promote themselves at this event, directly to the Travel agents and wholesalers of New Caledonia. The event is to be held at Le Meridien, Noumea. (Source: VTO New Caledonia)

Air Vanuatu and Air Tahiti new ATR-72 Aircraft

Two Pacific island airlines have signed up for the purchase of new French-built ATR turbo-prop aircraft ATR-72, series 500, the French aircraft manufacturer announced on Wednesday in a release. Both contracts were signed between ATR and the airline CEOs of Air Vanuatu and Air Tahiti during an air show in Singapore. In the case of air Vanuatu, which already owns an ATR-42, this will be the first acquisition of the larger ATR-72 version of an average seat capacity of 70 seats, depending on the local configuration. The aircraft is expected to be delivered in 2009, ATR said.

Air Vanuatu is currently operating its ATR-42 between the capital Port Vila and the islands of Espiritu Santo (North) and Tanna (South), some of Vanuatu's main tourist attractions. Air Vanuatu's ATR-42 is also used on a regular basis on connections to neighbouring New Caledonia. "With its new ATR-72, Air Vanuatu will be in a position to meet the increasing demand on its regional and international network … to the neighbouring islands such as Fiji or the Solomon Islands".  (Source: Oceania Flash 21 February 2008)

Santo Water Music Festival

This year's water music festival on Santo island was held at Deco Stop Lodge's swimming pool on Thursday 31st January 2008. Espiritu Santo is the largest island in Vanuatu, which was the inspiration for James A. Michener’s classic “Tales of the South Pacific”, from which the musical South Pacific was born.

Water music is originally from the island of Gaua. It was formed in 1945 after all these  years the music was performed during death ceremonies and Christmas Day. In the years 1998 the music was exposed to tourists and has been till today. The music is normally performed by a group of women in water and making different rhythms by the hands hitting the water. (Source: VTO Santo)

New General Manager for Vanuatu Tourism

The Vanuatu Tourism Board last week announced the appointment of Annie Niatu as the new General Manager of the Vanuatu Tourism Office. Annie held the position of Marketing Manager for the Vanuatu Tourism Office before her appointment as General Manager.

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