The Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence ceremony on Friday 29th July at Warwick Le Lagon’s Farea Pasifika, had a great turn out of over 100 guests, including 58 awards entrants across 5 provinces, with 37 finalists at this prestigious event, including Government officials and international judges.
Ms Linda Tilman, an Australian marketing consultant who judged in last year’s and this event, comments in Daily Post “I think from a judge’s perspective one of the most exciting things is that these guys have been through such a tough time, yet still they are so committed to the industry, enough to put together an awards submission and to come out and celebrate it tonight”.
The event organizers are thrilled that this year’s large number of entries is a positive sign that tourism Vanuatu is making a good come-back after hurdling through difficult times, which have now subsided, of cyclone Pam and runway issues. The General Manager of VTO Linda Kalpoi beams, “We are excited to see a wide range of products across our islands make it to the finals which is such a heartening sign that the whole destination is back in full operation.”
Mrs Kalpoi continues, “We have so much beauty in our remote locations which is what our holiday seekers are seeking. From our urban centers, we then need to get our visitors into the outer islands for a unique and exotic experience which our judges have absolutely loved and raved about during their product inspections”.
The judges spent 2-3 weeks across all 5 provinces experiencing the products and services to find out which finalist offers the most amazing experiences combining sustainability and authenticity.
Hosted by the Australian celebrity weatherman Mr Steve Jacobs and Vanuatu’s own Miss Vanuatu, Ms Valerie Martinez, the tourism awards ceremony announced the judges winning choice for each of the 14 categories.
That evening, winners walked away with their Vanuatu Tourism Awards trophies, a big smile and tears of joy. All the winners were given a few minutes to speak and share their victory to everyone present in the beautiful Farea Pasifika.
Congratulating the following winners for 2016 Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence: Rah Paradise Beach Bungalows – Best Island Style Accommodation, Fatumaru Lodge – Best Midrange Accommodation, White Grass Ocean Resort – Best Boutique Accommodation, Warwick Le Lagon Vanuatu – Best Hotel / Resort Accommodation, Ratua Private Island – Best Luxury Accommodation, Flower Garden Water Music – Best Traditional or Kastom Based Tour, Vanuatu Jungle Zipline – Best Adventure Tour, Big Blue Vanuatu – Best Ocean Experience, Evergreen Tours – Best Recreational / Soft Adventure Tour, Christina Karli of Oyster Island Resort – Best Customer Service, Michel Sipi of Eden on the River – Best Behind the Scenes, Max Zacharie of Vanuatu Jungle Zipline – Best Tour Guide, Peter Dick of Luganville, Santo – Best Handicraft Ambassador, and William MacKenzie of Eden on the River – Best Transport Ambassador.
The Vanuatu Tourism Awards event would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship and support from the following sponsors: Bank of South Pacific (BSP), Air Vanuatu, Digicel, Warwick Le Lagon, What to Do, Design Impax, World Car Rentals Vanuatu, Adventures in Paradise, Aon Vanuatu, Evergreen Vanuatu, Angelfish Cove Villas, Tourism Marketing Development Fund (TMDF), Vanuatu Hotels and Resorts Association (VHRA), Classic Printers Vanuatu, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), Vanuatu Jungle Zipline, Whitelight Media, Vanuatu Tour Operators Association (VTOA), Hardys (Vila Distribution), Pacific Island Living, Hotspots, Pandanus Vanuatu, Island Life and Beachfront Resort Espiritu Santo.