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Page: December 2007 Vanuatu travel news - Air Vanuatu ATR-72 Plane - Air New Zealand

The Travel Bug 34

Issue 34 - December 2007

Air Vanuatu Purchases its First ATR-72 Plane

Vanuatu's national flag carrier Air Vanuatu has signed a deal with French plane manufacturer ATR for the purchase of its first 70-seater turbo-prop ATR-72. The new plane, which belongs to ATR's new –500 series, is expected to be delivered in 2009. It belongs to a new generation of ATR planes which the manufacturers describe as the latest in ATR's turbo-propeller technology, with energy-saving features and a much quieter environment and noise reduction comparable to a jet-type aircraft. Air Vanuatu's new ATR-72 will be configured to a seat capacity of 70. It is destined to complement the operation of Air Vanuatu's only ATR to date, a 42-seater, which is used for domestic flights to Vanuatu islands.

The 42-seater is already operating on routes from the main island of Efate (where the capital Port Vila is located) to Espiritu Santo (North) and Tanna (South). The ATR-42 is also used on a regular basis on connections to neighbouring New Caledonia, the company said. "With the new ATR-72, Air Vanuatu will be in a position to address increasing demand on its regional network", Air Vanuatu CEO Terry Kerr said. The company was also contemplating extending its regional routes to such destinations as Fiji or the Solomon Islands. In November this year, in neighbouring New Caledonia, the French territory's domestic airline Air Calédonie (AirCal) took delivery of a similar ATR-72 aircraft, which also completed the airline's fleet's renewal process. The new aircraft is configured to carry about 65 passengers. (Source: Oceania Flash News 04 December 2007)

Air New Zealand Awarded Best Airline to the South Pacific in 2007

Air New Zealand has proudly announced that it has been recognized by Business Traveler magazine as the "Best Airline to the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand" in 2007. Through an aggressive strategy to continuously upgrade its aircraft fleet and onboard amenities, Air New Zealand secured its place as the most innovative and attentive airline serving popular destinations in the South Pacific. Business Traveler magazine has been a leader in recognizing excellence in business travel for nearly 20 years and publishes nine editions around the world. "For the second year in a row, we have the honor to be recognized by Business Traveler magazine for our unique brand of service," said Roger Poulton, Vice President, Air New Zealand - The Americas. "We design every aspect of our experience around the warm and welcoming culture of New Zealand, and it's truly rewarding to see that our efforts are being enjoyed by our customers." Visit their website for more information. (Source: Air New Zealand Media Releases 05 December 2007)

New Tahiti Travel Guide Launched

Avalon Travel Publishing announces the release of the 6th edition of Moon Tahiti, the leading travel guidebook to French Polynesia. Author David Stanley wrote the first South Pacific Handbook in 1979. Ten years later the handbook’s French Polynesia chapter was spun off as a separate guide and Moon Tahiti continues to draw on Stanley's three decades of experience in the region. Moon Tahiti’s 330 pages include dozens of photos, line drawings, and charts, plus a bibliography, glossary, vocabularies, and index. The 54 maps are clearly labeled without the confusing map keys found in other guides. Four maps of the capital Papeete are provided, and this edition contains new town plans of Hauru (Moorea) and Hakahau (Ua Pou) and island maps of Fakarava and Tikehau.

The book’s presentation has been entirely revamped with much of the introductory material moved to Background and Essentials chapters at the back of the book. In Essentials there’s now a Tips for Travelers section with specific advice for those interested in work or study, travelers with disabilities or children, and others with special needs. A new “blue section” in the front of Moon Tahiti features a five-page “Discover Tahiti and French Polynesia” essay with original color photos. Then comes “The Lay of the Land” with introductions to Tahiti, Moorea, and the Leeward, Austral, Tuamotu, Gambier, and Marquesas islands. “Planning Your Trip” in the blue section gives advice on when to go and what to take, while “Explore Tahiti and French Polynesia” offers precise day-by-day itineraries titled “The Best of French Polynesia,” “Underwater in the Tuamotu Islands,” “The Australs: Off the Beaten Track,” and “The Magnificent Marquesas.” “Romance on the South Seas” explores French Polynesia’s sensual pleasures, while “The Life Aquatic” is devoted to scuba diving, snorkeling, and surfing. (Source: I-Newswire)

Preparing for 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. See for the latest news and information on the Swims. For package information from Australia contact Sarah Beeken at Millennium Travel in Sydney Ph 02 9211 0944 Toll Free 1800 622 523 email: In New Zealand contact Jeremy Shannahan at United Travel Takapuna Ph Ph: 09 4861625 Toll Free 0800 336660 email (Source: Vanuatu Tourism Office) website Goes Japanese

A Japanese language version of is now live. The site is the work of JICA volunteer Takeshi Kumano. As the official destination portal for the South Pacific with an extensive product database and now in 3 languages (also English and Chinese) the site has good searchability. Chief Executive Tony Everitt said “The Japanese market has been a tough one as that country has struggled to recover from its asset bubble crisis in the early 1990s. There are signs that the worst of that may now be over. And just as well, as other key markets like the USA and potentially even New Zealand could be facing a similar challenge. It’s time to look to develop more business from the Japanese market to the South Pacific. This new portal is a welcome addition to’s Japan marketing plan which includes sales missions to Tokyo and Osaka (Starter Packs), product development, promotions at the Tokyo Marine Diving Fair, South Pacific images as mobile phone screen savers, and encouraging Japanese media features on the South Pacific.”

Women in Tourism International Meeting

Women In Tourism International Alliance (WITIA) members from around the world met up in Fiji last weekend to learn more about Fiji's culture and attractions and to also attend their second Annual General Meeting. assisted WITIA organise and coordinate four days of fun activities. The activities included community visits to an orhpanage and a Centre for Homeless boys in Nadi, a day trip to Mana Island and a Captain Cook Dinner Cruise. The ladies had fun experiencing the 'real Fiji' with a visit to the village of Sabeto, taking part in a traditional kava ceremony, swimming in the river and horseback riding. The AGM was held at Sonaisali Island Resort where the ladies stayed throughout the four days of activities. According to Helen Po'uliva'ati of who assisted in coordinating the visit, "the ladies were able to learn first hand about Fiji as a beautiful destination. As they all enjoyed their time in Fiji, there is certainly going to be greater publicity for Fiji when they return to their home countries." WITIA is a global networking association for professionals focused on assisting women selling tourism services (

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