Tourism in Torba has been very hard to promote in the past.
Relatively small, isolated and less frequently visited by visitors than any other provinces, the northern Banks and Torres Islands remains one of Vanuatu’s mysteries.
The people from Torba have unique culture more similar to those of Rennell and Bellona people of the Solomon Islands. The islands of Torba are a pleasant escape with distinctive attractions.
One year after the Australian Government funded TVET (Technical and Vocational Education Training) Centre established at Vanua Lava, tourism has increased significantly.
Just recently, seven Island bungalows on the island of Motalav and Rah have been launched ready to market. These bungalows can accommodate over 30 quests per week.
Happiness Bungalows, Motalava Gateway Lodge, Totolag Homestay, Sunset Bungalows, Dori Lagoon Beach Bungalows, Rah Beach Bungalows and Rah Paradise Bungalow are now ready for tourists after meeting all the minimum standards set by the DoT which are:have a valid business licence, a running water, proper sanitation facilities, standard room size and be member of a tourism association.
According to the Department of Tourism (DoT) Principal Accreditation Officer, Jerry Spooner, a few of these products exceeded the required minimum standards.
Spooner applauded TVET for the great work done. “The Vanuatu Tourism Office finds it very hard to promote tourism in Torba due to poor quality product standard as well as accessibility to booking,” he said.
“TVET has only been operational for just over a year but the work done there was obviously substantial.The government recognizes the need to establish the accreditation system to address the quality of services provided by tourism operators.”
Through the TVET program initiative, these bungalows will be marketed overseas through the Sanma Information and Call Centre.
The process of developing new products for new markets, standards and quality of the Islands’ tourism product are done collaboratively with the DoT.A two-day celebration was organized to celebrate the achievements witnessed the launching of a new tour, authentic custom dances, shell money making and other traditional skills displays that is set to increase the number of visitors to Torba.
Local chiefs remarked they were happy to see that through community- based tourism, communities are able to preserve and pass on traditional culture.