New Caledonia Tourism has put together four itineraries for trade to base suggestions on, depending on the preferences of clients.
The programmes include Cultural Explorers (13 days), Fun & Sun Seekers (five days), Relaxers / Escapers (nine days) and Excitement Seekers (nine days).
Vanuatu Tourism Office has worked with accommodation providers to collate a series of videos that show what their product is looking like.
‘We know it is a difficult time to try and get agents on famils with the industry still facing staff shortages. Having full confidence in recommending places for their clients to stay can be a real challenge,’ says Jacquie Carson, VTO’s NZ market representative.
Tourism Fij’s Fiji Roadshow will return to New Zealand in September 2022, visiting four cities.
The NTO is calling on travel sellers to save the date of the event closest to them. The roadshow will give the trade the chance to reconnect with some of Fiji’s leading tour operators and travel partners.
Niue Tourism has been busy connecting with the industry this week, celebrating the return of quarantine-free, weekly flights to Niue that started on Tuesday 28 June.
Delivering colourful baskets full of tropical fruits to key suppliers and sharing a special ‘Celebration Cake’ with Pacific Island management at Air New Zealand, were on the agenda.
Vanuatu tourism has launched a new Welkam Back to Vanuatu! campaign in New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia.
The advertising showcases Vanuatu’s tourism offering across radio, outdoor and digital and social.
After a four year hiatus, the South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) will return in 2023.
SPTE 2023 will be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, from 12-13 May, taking into consideration the Australian Tourism Exchange (30 April-5 May 2023, Gold Coast) and Tourism Rendezvous New Zealand TRENZ (9-11 May, 2023, Christchurch). SPTE will offer international travel buyers the convenience of familiarising with a wide selection of suppliers and products from the Pacific under one roof.
A boat trip on the jungle-fringed Navua River with the return journey in a tyre tube is just one aspect of a new tour presented at Fijian Tourism Expo.
The River Tubing Fiji experience also includes a visit to a remote village, a swim at a waterfall and riverside lunch.
Essence Group has revamped its transit lounge based a few minutes drive from Nadi Airport and added extra services in collaboration with other Fijian small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
Director Debra Sadranu says as well the existing lounge having a face-lift, the facility now has a business centre with a meeting room operated by mydesk.
A new tour puts the focus on a successful initiative that empower Fijian women and communities, while at the same time gives visitors an insight into an emerging coffee enterprise in the country.
Bula Coffee Fiji has been working with villages that harvest wild growing coffee for the last 10 years but only launched the Crop to Cup Coffee Tour about a month ago.
Fiji Airways is planning to promote Savusavu (on the island of Vanua Levu) and Taveuni to trade this year to help disperse New Zealand visitation beyond the tried and familiar destinations of Fiji.
Sheryn Ambler, regional GM Fiji Airways, New Zealand says the airline’s future loads from this market look strong, but one problem Kiwis have is finding accommodation in destinations such as Denarau and the Coral Coast.
Vanuatu Ecotours has added a number of new options to its portfolio as the destination looks to reopen on 1 July.
This includes a new cascades product, 25 minutes from Port Vila. Crystal Cascades is located in a rainforest setting and is private and exclusive to Vanuatu Ecotours. ‘We believe it complements other cascades products on Efate and will be accessible via a half-day and full day tour,’ says managing director Rob Macalister.
Ensuring that the range of experiences and products grow in line with expected demand is a key priority for Tourism Fiji, says chief executive officer Brent Hill.
Well known hotels around Denarau and the Coral Coast are already showing a sharp revival since Fiji reopened late last year.
Scenic Matavai Resort will initially open with around half of its capacity offering 32 resort rooms when Niue opens to visitors on 27 June.
This will comprise Deluxe rooms which opened in 2017, together with Superior Clifftop and Superior rooms. All hotel facilities will be open to guests, including the restaurant, lobby bar, pool bar, conference centre and two swimming pools. Authentic Niuean culture will continue to be the focus of the resort’s entertainment offering for evenings and be integrated into many other elements of the guest experience, such as the traditional feast night.
Tourism Fiji has launched its new and reworked Matai 2.0 online agent training programme for travel agents across the globe.
The Matai relaunch is a way for agents to reacquaint themselves with the destination following the reopening of Fiji’s international borders.
Tourism Fiji’s agent incentive campaign, which was set to be in place until April 30 or until all 120 reward tickets had been secured, has ended in just over three weeks due to the overwhelming number of entries from agents across the country selling Fiji to their clients.
The ‘Sell Fiji Airways and we’ll shout you a ticket to Happiness’ was launched on 14 March as a celebration of New Zealand’s borders opening to Fiji for the first time in two years.
Tropica Island Resort Fiji is set to reopen on 1 April.
General manager Rodney Samuels says the resort has introduced a new reservation system which allows guests to manage their booking and resort experiences via a Guest Portal.
With Pacific nations at widely differing stages of re-opening for tourism, the region’s destinations are being urged to focus on a change of messaging for the long-term future of the sector.
Chris Cocker, chief executive officer of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) gave an update to interested parties in New Zealand yesterday. The hybrid event was held in conjunction with the New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade Aid Programme and the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, with about 20 attendees at the live presentation in the MFAT Auckland office, joined by an audience on Zoom.
Cook Islands tour operator and destination management company Turama Pacific Travel Group is offering five and seven-night special packages staying at a range of resorts for travel in January and February. They include free airport transfers, an Island Discovery tour and Island Night show and dinner with transfers, and daily breakfasts (unless noted). Click here for the specials.
Turama is expecting increased demand out of New Zealand for small group tours now that quarantine-free travel has resumed between the two countries.
With the borders re-opening for two-way quarantine free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands today, Pacific Resort Hotel Group (PRHG) has relaunched its Pacific Pearls Programme in 2022.
The programme rewards PRHG’s best supporting travel agents of its properties: Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Pacific Resort Rarotonga, Little Polynesian Resort, and Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa.
The ‘Covid pause’ of the last 20 months has given time for one of Fiji’s best known tourism operators to rebrand and refocus.
Pacific Destinations Fiji is now TEWAKA, with a logo designed around the mangrove plant in the form of a Fijian Tapa design.
Island Hopper Vacations Cook Islands will release its updated programmes this week.
Managing director, Robert Skews says these are are adaptable to clients’ requirements with all products commissionable at 12% to bona fide travel companies.
French Polynesian cargo cruise line Aranui Cruises has released its 2023 programme. This includes a dedicated Austral Islands explorer featuring the ‘Bora Bora of the south’, a bonus Pitcairn sailing to make up for cancelled Covid cruises and the cruise line’s first five-day cruise.
On sale now, the 2023 programme is Aranui’s most diverse, featuring 25 scheduled cruises ranging from five to 13-days and calling at 26 islands around the South Pacific on Aranui 5, a 125-metre mixed freight and passenger vessel, which offers one of the few remaining cargo cruise experiences in the world.
Demand for a Fiji holiday has seen 66% of all international outbound flights from Australia in October being booked directly to the destination and accounting for 29% of all flights being made, second only to domestic travel.
Hotels and resorts are seeing significant bookings for multi-generation families. Many resorts are booking out, and according to one of Australia’s largest online travel agencies, 39% of all bookings made to Fiji have been made for December and 29% for January, with 2022 quickly filling as well, which is a real boost for the tourism industry after two years of virtually no tourism.
Travel agents are being encouraged to become a New Caledonia Specialist through New Caledonia Tourism’s e-learning programme.
The destination has introduced three new modules (in addition to the first three launched at the end of 2020) as well as an initiative to protect New Caledonia’s biodiversity.
With Fiji announcing it will reopen to international travellers from 1 December 2021, the destination is being promoted as being ideal for multi-generational family reunions.
Fiji has an abundance of private villas and residences, fit for large families and groups. By booking a private villa or residence, clients can create the true feeling of a home away from home.
Vomo Fiji has six contemporary Fiji style residences. The entire island can be booked private use.
The travel trade and clients have responded with enthusiasm to the Cook Islands Government’s announcement that two-way quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands will resume on 14 January 2022 (NZ time).
However, wholesalers and agents say they are now keenly waiting for more information on border openings in Q1 2022.
As it stands, the Cook Islands will be the only international destination that people in New Zealand can travel to and from for a holiday, without any quarantine or isolation.
Nasama Resort and Breaka’s Beach Resort joined forces to hold Vanuatu’s first vaccination party over the weekend.
Anyone was welcome to come along, get vaccinated, and share some kai kai (dinner) and enjoy the entertainment. It was held at Nasama Resort’s new restaurant, The Three Pigs, and 380 people received their first or second dose on the day.
Moves are afoot to have four UNESCO Geoparks established in the Pacific, a development expected to boost tourism in a sustainable way while focusing on not only geology but also culture.
It is possible that these and others may form a ‘Geopark trail’ around the Pacific.
At a South Pacific Tourism Office (supported by the South Pacific Community, SPC) webinar this week, it was noted that a number of steps needed to be taken at all sites (some more than others) before a submission could be made to UNESCO.
Vanuatu Tourism Office reports that resorts in the destination have been preparing for the return of international visitors.
Aore Island Resort on Espiritu Santo has completed a total renovation. This includes improved guestrooms, restaurants, jetties and beach huts. Agents can follow Aore Resort on Instagram @aoreislandresort
Mangoes and Terraces Resort have been working behind the scenes to upgrade the kitchens and pool areas. They also have a new app, developed to reduce contact points around the resorts. The whole team is double vaccinated.
After the recent announcement of Fiji’s borders opening on 1 December, hotel and resort bookings have soared.
The industry has seen tremendous momentum and record bookings, predominantly from families looking for a reunion, couples wanting to escape and groups looking to celebrate missed milestones.
Clean, Caring and Checked is the new mantra of tourism businesses across Vanuatu, under the Vanuatu Government’s Safe Business Operations (SBO) programme.
The Covid safety training is a required preparation for business restarts and all tourism staff are encouraged to undertake it across the 83 islands.
‘We must protect not only visitors but also our tourism staff and families. This training will ensure businesses are prepared to get back on their feet and provide our people with the confidence to greet visitors to Vanuatu,’ says Rae Ernest, safe business operations coordinator. ‘
Fiji will open to international travellers on 1 December. Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama said in statement on Sunday that Fiji is ready to welcome travellers back to its shores.
‘We are entirely confident in our ability to manage the risk associated with quarantine-free travel. Our planes are prepared. Our airports are adapted.’
The official announcement came as Fiji reached its goal to get 80% of its eligible population fully vaccinated.
Vanuatu Tourism Office is reaching out to the New Zealand travel trade as the possibility of border re-openings draws closer.
Retail agents and brokers are encouraged to register their details with VTO so that they can have access to key information and collateral at their fingertips. With so much change in the industry over the past 18 months VTO says it understands the challenge agents are facing with accessing up to date information to share with clients who may be currently looking at organising a South Pacific 2022 winter holiday.
Yesterday marked a border milestone between Vanuatu and New Zealand as 154 seasonal workers arrived in Christchurch with the commencement of the one-way travel bubble from Vanuatu to New Zealand.
‘The new travel bubble establishes a series of new protocols in both Vanuatu and New Zealand to create this safe travel pathway,’ says Len Tarivonda, director of Vanuatu’s Public Health. ‘It is the first stage in testing the systems we have put in place in Vanuatu and ensuring our citizens are prepared for travel.
‘Naturally we are hopeful that this will lead to two-way travel between our countries – however we need to take it step by step to ensure our preparations are sound,’ says Tarivonda.
Island Hopper Vacations in Cook Islands has re-introduced Close Encounters FIT packages to the islands of Mangaia, Mauke, Mitiaro, or Atiu.
The packages are for two or three nights with tours, transfers, dinner and some breakfasts.
Robert Skews, managing director of parent company Turama Pacific Travel Group, says Island Hopper has been using RI’s Retreat near the airport in Mauke, and notes that RI’s Hideaway is currently being renovated and will provide a more remote beachside option.
Tourism Fiji is advising the New Zealand trade that key resorts and hotels will be ready for their clients when they return, with many having refurbished, renovated and even added to their offerings while international visitors have been away.
The Sheraton Fiji Resort has renovated its guests’ rooms and revitalised the lobby space. The resort has three new dining experiences designed by CHADA; Tatavi Grill & Bar Restaurant, Island 619 and 28g (Grams). Additionally, the meeting spaces have been given a new look.
Shannon Mawer has joined Tourism Fiji as public relations and marketing manager, New Zealand, in its Auckland office.
Mawer was most recently in a marketing coordinator position with Joylab Network NZ and previously a publicist at Mediaworks. She has skills in PR and marketing campaign development, media relations and publicity, content management and creation, as well as stakeholder management.
Taumeasina Island Resort, close to Apia’s CBD, will soon complete the addition of new villas.
According to general manager Tuitaga Nathan Bucknall, the new development consists of 12 self contained three-bedroom villas offering views of the Pacific Ocean.
The new villas are larger in size compared to those which are part of the original build. All are on the mainland by the main entrance and directly face Taumeasina Island.
More than 50 agents have completed the Certified Tahiti Specialist Programme (CTS) online training modules. They will all receive a gift from Tahiti Tourisme.
Moana McKeen, trade manager – New Zealand with Tahiti Tourisme, says hundreds more have registered for the programme and are yet to complete the modules.
‘The programme is a ‘one stop shop’ for all travel advisors, offering comprehensive destination training as well as benefits for joining the programme and becoming a Certified Tahiti Specialist.
Samoa’s Covid-19 contact tracing app, Samoa Travel Tracer, has been officially launched in Apia by Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa.
The platform is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Health and Samoa Tourism Authority and is a vital component of the Samoa Travel-Ready Toolkit.The toolkit also includes vaccination, tourism business operator training and maintenance, and sales and marketing initiatives.
Samoa Travel Tracer is based on the privacy-preserving BlueTrace protocol developed in Singapore, and it was developed locally in partnership with SkyEye and the Samoa Information Technology Association.
Samoa looks likely to welcome only vaccinated travellers once borders reopen, attendees at a Beautiful Samoa webinar heard yesterday.
The two Sheraton properties at the destination – Sheraton Hotel and Bungalows and Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort, have already signalled that they will insist on proof of vaccination before entry to the properties.
Sonny Rivers, NZ sales and marketing representative with Samoa Tourism, says that the requirements have not been finalised by the government.
Tourism Fiji has a new initiative to encourage all Fijians to be ready to welcome back international visitors when travel resumes. The initiative communicates a simple, but important, message in a bid to reach 100% vaccination of eligible population in Fiji.
‘It’s our best shot at travel: get vaccinated and get ready,’ will be shared across Tourism Fiji’s digital channels, both locally and globally.
‘The campaign also includes a toolkit for the Fijian tourism industry so they too can encourage Fijians to support the drive to get vaccinated and be ready to reopen,’ says Brent Hill, Tourism Fiji CEO.
Cook Islands Tourism is highlighting one of Rarotonga’s newest resorts to the trade in New Zealand.
Ocean Escape Resort, an adults-only resort with 12 villas, opened in May when the ‘bubble’ between AKL and RAR began. However, feedback indicates that many agents are still not aware of the property.
A major feature of Ocean Escape is its lagoon fed pool, where guests can swim with tropical fish. It also has a poolside cabana and a social barbecue area, plus a beach front lounge from which people can whale watch in season.
Over the past 12 months an extensive refurbishment programme at Rarotonga’s Manuia Beach Resort has included new kikau style roofing, retiling of the infinity pool (which features as the last shot of the sunset on the currently running Cook Islands television commercials), and new Balinese style furniture in all rooms. New lighting and landscaping has been undertaken, the drainage has been upgraded and the rooms have been painted inside and out.
The resort also has a new general manager – Ross McLauchlan. McLauchlan was most recently manager of the Alcamo in Hamilton. He has been involved with Rarotonga for over a decade after being appointed head judge for the inaugural Air New Zealand Tourism Awards in 2009, and again in 2011 and 2013. He also recruited New Zealand staff for the Cook Island Accreditation programme from its inception, and later became an accreditor.
Vanuatu Tourism Office has named Paul Pio as the new short haul markets manager. He is responsible for managing and developing the brand positioning of Vanuatu as a tourism destination in the short-haul markets of New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia, including managing VTO’s representation in each market.
Crown Beach Resort & Spa on Rarotonga has appointed Mike Geary from Eye 4 Travel as its NZ and Australian representative. He will be look after all aspects of the sales and marketing for the resort. On the western coast of Rarotonga, Crown Beach Resort & Spa is on five acres of tropical gardens with 36 stand-alone villas (some with their own pool), a conference / functions centre, onsite spa, two restaurants and bars, a waterfall-fed swimming pool and 120m of private beach. The resort is 15 minutes from downtown Avarua, 10 minutes from the airport.
A massive consumer turnout at the Cook Islands Travel Expo in Auckland on Sunday not only illustrated the high level of interest in the destination but also how important it is for agents and brokers to keep abreast of developments there, say participants at the event.
‘People were talking not only about the islands of Rarotonga and Aitutaki but also wanted to know about the outer islands and the differences between them,’ says Alana Eli, New Zealand / Australia represntative with Turama Pacific Travel group, the parent company of Island Hopper Vacations.
The tourism industry in Fiji continues to show its resilience and determination to get back to business by leading the way with getting vaccinated.
Tourism Fiji’s head office team in Nadi, Fiji, received their second dose at Nadi Airport last week. Other industry partners are also now in the position of having their staff fully vaccinated in support of the Fiji Government drive to get every eligible Fijian vaccinated as soon as possible.
Cook Islands Tourism is hosting a Cook Islands Trade Expo featuring Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Atiu and their sister islands, on Monday 5 July 2021 at the Hilton Auckland. Travel professionals will have the flexibility to attend the expo anytime that is convenient for them between 10am and 8pm. Destination presentations will take place at 11.30am, 2.00pm, 4.00pm and 6.00pm.
Demand for travel to the Cook Islands has exceeded expectations as New Zealanders respond to the once in a lifetime opportunity of having the tropical island to themselves.
Graeme West, general manager for Cook Islands Tourism Australasia, says since the travel bubble between the two countries opened last week, bookings and enquiries have been much higher than anticipated. Air New Zealand has added 16 more flights in July and additional flights through to October.
Island Hopper Vacations has new packages that open up the Cook Islands beyond Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
‘These are essentially small group charters with the ability for individuals or couples to join,’ says managing director Robert Skews.
The Southern Group Adventure package takes up to 12 people to Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke and Mangaia, staying two nights in each island and includes flights, accommodation, tours and breakfasts and dinners.
Signs are promising that Niue will open to New Zealand quarantine-free in the fourth quarter of this year, according to the chair of the Pacific Island nation’s Tourism Advisory Board, Vanessa Marsh.
Marsh emphasises that a two-way bubble will be dependent on the vaccination roll out in Niue, plus agreement by both governments. However, there is reason to be optimistic with vaccinating expected to start in Niue
in June and take six weeks.
Pacific Resort Hotel Group has completed a $10 million renovation and repositioning of the Little Polynesian Resort and Pacific Resort Rarotonga.
The renovation programmes at both resorts has been ongoing over the past five years and entailed a full remodel of all guestrooms including new furniture, floor and wall coverings, as well as a bathroom remodel. In addition, renovation of all public areas, including restaurant, bar and pool is finished. A year-long closure of international borders into the Cook Islands due to Covid-19 has allowed both resorts to fast-track and complete upgrades ahead of schedule.