Port Vila, Vanuatu, Monday 25 June: The winners of the 2017/18 Vanuatu Tourism Awards have been announced at a ceremony held at the Vanuatu National Convention Centre on Saturday afternoon, 23 June. At a touching ceremony which recognised the efforts of over 50 tourism businesses across all sectors and provinces of Vanuatu, the passion and commitment of everyone involved in the industry was evident.
The ceremony was attended by over 400 people, the largest ever audience. The significance of the occasion was evident as families, local communities, and entire businesses showed up to support their nominations.
“The winners of this year’s awards truly highlight what it is to holiday in Vanuatu and what we want our visitors to experience. This year’s winners and finalists are all deeply passionate about what they do and about Vanuatu and I was extremely proud to watch them receive their awards”, said Ms Adela Issachar Aru, Chairperson of the Tourism Awards for Excellence Committee and CEO of the Vanuatu Tourism Office.
“It was also exciting to see entries and winners of this from right across Vanuatu this really adds another dimension to our tourism product and experience and to help us attract new markets and increase repeat visitation. This year we had a winner from both our most northern and most southern provinces”, Ms Aru said.
The winners have been part of a lengthy process of written applications, interviews, and site visits undertaken by a team of 6 judges. The judging panel had over 150 years tourism experiences between them and were impressed by the improvement and quality of the product on offer.
There were a number of new Awards this year which included the Minister for Tourism Sustainability Award, which was won by Big Blue Vanuatu. Big Blue operates a dive business from Port Vila and are acutely aware of the impact the environment has on delivery of their product. Each year Big Blue runs events and works with the community to ensure the reduction in ocean trash. Big Blue also applauded the decision by the Vanuatu Government to ban the use of single use plastic bags, the first country in the Pacific to do so.
The celebrations were then continued at a Gala Dinner for 300 people held at the Warwick Le Lagon, a Tourism Awards winner themselves.
Vanuatu certainly was the happiest place in the world on Saturday night.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL WINNERS!
The 2017/218 Bred Bank Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence is being financially and technically supported through NZAid funded Vanuatu Strategic Tourism Action Plan (VSTAP) Implementation Unit as part of the Government of Vanuatu’s focus to improving tourism product standards and supporting better communication and co-ordination between stakeholders. The VSTAP Implementation Unit partners with the Dept of Tourism and the VTO to implement standards and accreditation programs to help create a more competitive tourist destination that provides a diverse range of quality tourism experiences. Major Sponsors are Air Vanuatu, Digicel, What to Do, Azure Pure Water and Warwick Le Lagon. Category and other sponsors include the Vanuatu Hotels and Resorts Association, Island Life Magazine, World Car Rentals Vanuatu, Adventures in Paradise, Vanuatu Insurance Brokers, Angelfish Cove Villas, Vanuatu Kaljoral Senta, Classic Printers Vanuatu, South Sea Shipping, Public Land Transport Authority, Department of Industry, Vanuatu Scuba Operators Association, Espiritu Santo Tourism Association, Tourism Marketing Development Fund, Beachfront Resort, Pandanus Vanuatu, Ministry of Tourism and Trade, Department of Agriculture, Vila Distribution, Ministry of Youth & Sports Development, Vanuatu Tour Operators Association and Ecotourism Australia.