A new tourism activity of its kind will be introduce on Malekula next year.
‘Collar the Dog’, a mountain bike adventure around the northern head of the island known as the ‘head of the dog’ is an opportunity to experience the custom of ‘big nambas’ and ‘smol nambas’ tribes. This is an aspect of living on the outer island that visitors rarely get to see.
An Australian volunteer with the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), Steve Taylor, is working with the Malampa Department of Tourism to develop the cycle trial event.
The launch of the trial runs over the first three weeks of May, from May 3 to 5, 10 to 12 and 17 to 19. While challenging, it is suited to all levels of ability.
In an email to announce the event, the Malampa Travel Call Center (MTCC) said teh event will be supported with back-up vehicles, catering, accommodation, and guides.
So far local expats including Australian and New Zealand mountain bikers are already signaling keen interest in participating in the event.
The Manager of the Malampa Department of Tourism, Edna Paolo, said “the trial event will be an opportunity for visitors not only to experience Malekula’s varied coastal and hinterland environments but the island’s rich cultural diversity so signatory in Malampa province.
Collar the Dog started out as an annual dirt road cycle event. After a revision of goals, objectives and logistics, morphed into this new product that blends challenging riding over a three days duration.
The development progressed from a scoping of the region’s dirt roads to gain an appreciation of the physical aspects of riding in Malekula, to meeting with village chiefs and elder to ensure support and liaising with Malekula Eco-Tourism Association Sub-committee.
The objectives of the project are to further develop a tourism industry that remains vibrant and sustainable; provide quality adventure and an authentic island experience, said a marketing adviser at the MTCC, Ann Terry.
“It specifically aims to increase consumer awareness on Malekula as a tourism destination, increase demand for current tourism products and services”, she said.