BRED Sponsors Tourism Awards

A VT 1.5 million cheque was handed over earlier this week.

The Vanuatu Tourism Office is pleased to announce the 2017/2018 Bred Bank Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence. The date of the Awards has been set for Saturday 23rd June 2018.

Bred Bank Vanuatu has committed to being the Major named sponsor for this year.

The Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence program started in 2015 as a collaborative effort between the Vanuatu government and the tourism industry to relaunch the tourism awards. Members of peak tourism associations formed a secretariat, hosted by the Vanuatu Tourism Office, to manage and redesign the Awards process.

The objective of the program is to improve standards and professionalism, whilst encouraging the continual development of the tourism sector. By recognizing excellence and celebrating the success of operators who are delivering an outstanding service to tourists, the Awards aim to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing within the industry to help build the Vanuatu brand and enhance the visitor experience. The ultimate goal of the Awards is to attract more tourists to create greater economic opportunity in Vanuatu and build a sustainable future for the industry.

Entries open to all tourism businesses on the 12th of February 2018 and close on the 16th of March 2018. It would be an accomplishment to receive entries from all six provinces this year – in 2015/2016 entries were received from 5 provinces. Judges will select the top three businesses in each award category, to be profiled in the media during the final judging period and leading up to the announcement of the winners at the Awards Gala dinner. Valuable workshops, open only to the entrants, will once again take place in the week before the event. The 2016 Awards presentation and Gala dinner was attended by over 240 industry representatives.

Previously, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, supported the Awards secretariat as part of its regional tourism program with the aim of helping to improve standards in the tourism sector. The 2017/2018 Bred Bank Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence is being supported by the Vanuatu Strategic Tourism Action Plan (VSTAP). Improving standards is also a focus for the Vanuatu government. The national strategic action plan for tourism sets the goal of implementing standards to help create a competitive tourist destination that provides a diverse range of quality tourism experiences.

This year there will be 15 categories including accommodation operators, tour operators and individual staff awards. This includes an exciting new Youth Development Award sponsored by the Minister of Youth and Sports. The Awards program is encouraging the wider community to get involved through nominating friends and family, as well as businesses nominating colleagues and employees.

Best practice approaches in developing awards programs were researched and integrated, with sections of Fiji, Sri Lanka, and Australia’s Awards program modified for the local context. The application process involves operators filling out an application form asking questions on four sections of their business, including business operations and risk management, marketing, human resources and sustainability and innovation. The form is designed for business owners to document their practices in these areas, whilst also prompting them to think about areas they may not currently plan for and therefore integrate in the year ahead.

Involving international judges adds value to the program as it brings in global and regional expertise, as well as objectivity to the judging process. After receiving the applications, a panel of six judges – three international and three local – will score them, with the three highest scores in each category selected as finalists for a further site visit and consultation. The judges give written feedback to the entrants on their submissions, as well as on their site visits and tour experiences in the form of a feedback report. This includes a number of recommendations to raise standards. In 2015/2016, the judges prescribed 216 recommendations for the 31 tour and accommodation entrants.

For more information on the 2017/2018 Bred Bank Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence, please email awards@vanuatu.gov.vu

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