On 20 August 2015, a group of 16 key product managers, team leaders and marketing managers from Australian wholesalers and Online Travel Agents (OTA) experienced the beauty of Vanuatu first-hand, as the destination shows it is open for business after the destruction caused by Cyclone Pam earlier this year.
The itineraries were designed to showcase a large range of properties and activities available in Vanuatu by including the islands of Efate, Espiritu Santo and Tanna.
Vanuatu Tourism Office’s (VTO) Australian representative Anne Morris said the trip was designed to ease the minds of those who sell Vanuatu to the Australian market.
“The main aim of the trip was to instill confidence that Vanuatu has recovered from Cyclone Pam and that the group can continue to package, promote and sell with conviction and a renewed passion for the destination,” Ms Morris said.
Nina Henderson, Destination Manager for Hoot Holidays said she was impressed with how Vanuatu has bounced back.
“I experienced both the islands of Efate and Tanna and their quick recovery shows the true resilience of the nation. I was amazed on Tanna how little seemed to have changed since my visit two years ago. All over the country, hoteliers have chosen to see Cyclone Pam as a positive and have used the recovery time to rebuild or upgrade their properties,” Nina said.
Therese Glover, Pinpoint Travel Group Product Specialist was a little more cautious with her expectations of Vanuatu. Therese said her clients had needed a bit of reassurance when considering Vanuatu but seeing it firsthand has given her the confidence to promote the destination.
Sarah Beeken from Vanuatu Escapes said, “It is definitely business as usual for Vanuatu and you would never know a cyclone had wreaked so much damage just five months ago.
Preceding the Australian group, wholesalers from New Zealand and New Caledonia also visited Vanuatu in an effort to build confidence in its key markets.