The result of the Bred Bank Vanuatu Tourism Awards for excellence for 2017/2018 held last Saturday at the Convention Center in Port Vila is proof that tourism has improved in outer islands.
Three tourism businesses each from Santo, Malekula and Tanna were amongst the winners during the event.
The other awardees were all from Port Vila.
Victoria Maclean who chaired the event says this proves that tourism businesses in the outer islands are growing and improving.
White Grass Ocean Resort and Spa on the island of Tanna won the best award for Best Beauty Accommodation Boutique, the Lewaton Cultural Experience on Santo won the first prize for being the best Traditional Tour and Joan Palmer who runs a cultural dance tour on Malekula was awarded the best Youth in tourism.
Another interesting highlight of the event was two different Tourism Businesses in Port Vila that scooped two different awards. The Vanuatu Helicopters and Tropic Thunder Jet Vanuatu that is owned by the same person won the best award for Adventure activity and Recreational Soft Adventure and the Ocean Blue ran away with two awards, the best Ocean Experience tourism business and the award for promoting and practicing sustainable tourism developments in the country.
Big Blue was instrumental in the cleaning of the ocean and they have heavily involved in this activity since 2005.
The Agriculture Department in Port Vila sponsored an additional award ‘the Agriculture award’ to Lydia Banga.
Ms Banga is a farmer from Santo and she supplies restaurants, hotels, and other tourism businesses with fresh produce.
The majority of the Judges are from Australia and New Zealand with vast experiences in the tourism industry. They include: Natalie Bramble, Linda Tillman, James Korvan, Fredrick Maclean, Rose Jacobs and Julia Kings.
The Vanuatu Tourism Awards aims to help improve standards and professionalism, whilst encouraging the continual development of the tourism sector.
This year’s theme is ‘community’, so to recognize collaboration and knowledge sharing within our industry, aimed at helping build the Vanuatu brand and enhancing the visitor experience.
The ultimate goal of the Award is to attract more tourists to create greater economic opportunity in Vanuatu and build a sustainable future for the industry.
The major sponsor of the event this year is Bred Bank Vanuatu (BBV). BBV Manager, James Hudson, says the sponsorship is crucial and important for the company because it supports their clients and Vanuatu as a whole.
“What impacts you impacts us, and your growth is our growth,” says Hudson.