All smiles for Tok Tok 2016

Travel Bulletin - - ISSUES & TRENDS -

THE hap­pi­est place in the South Pa­cific wel­comed buy­ers, sup­pli­ers and me­dia for Van­u­atu’s thir­teenth an­nual Tok Tok travel trade show at Iririki Is­land Re­sort & Spa in late Au­gust. In­dustr y par tners from Aus­tralia, New Cale­do­nia, Fiji, China, the US and Italy at­tended the event to re­fresh their knowl­edge on the des­ti­na­tion, ex­change ideas and learn about re­cent de­vel­op­ments and up­com­ing op­por tu­ni­ties. Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter for Trade, Tourism, Com­merce and In­dus­try, Joe Na­tu­man opened Tok Tok by re­it­er­at­ing the im­por­tance of tourism to the is­land na­tion; par­tic­u­larly in the wake of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Pam which left a path of dev­as­ta­tion when it smashed into the is­lands in March last year. “This year’s Tok Tok is tes­ti­mony to Van­u­atu fully re­cov­er­ing from Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Pam and push­ing ahead to re­cover the lost busi­ness,” he said dur­ing his open­ing speech. “Tourism is the main driver of our econ­omy so thank you ev­ery­one for com­ing here as a tes­ta­ment to grow­ing our econ­omy,” he con­tin­ued. Speak­ing ex­clu­sively to trav­el­bul­letin dur­ing the expo, Van­u­atu Tourism Of­fice’s gen­eral man­ager Linda Kalpoi said she was con­fi­dent the na­tion’s tourism num­bers would con­tinue to build af­ter the hit taken by the nat­u­ral dis­as­ter. An­other thorn in the side for the is­land na­tion is the poor con­di­tion of Port Vila’s run­way which has led to Air New Zealand and Vir­gin Aus­tralia pulling out of flights on sev­eral oc­ca­sions due to safety con­cerns. “If we did not have the is­sues with the air­port’s run­way we would def­i­nitely be mak­ing the num­bers again. I know for sure we would,” Kapoli said. With plans for a full re­pair of the run­way to be car­ried out by the end of the year and the re­build­ing from the Cy­clone a suc­cess, Kapoli’s out­look is a firmly pos­i­tive one. “We have had good feed­back from whole­salers that are get­ting back to 2014 lev­els,” Kalpoi said. Tok Tok 2016 was drawn to a close with tra­di­tional per­for­mances, a huge buf­fet din­ner and fire­works.

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