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PictureLinda Kalpoi at a past VTO Cultural Expo
VANUATU TOURISM NEWS The General Manager of the VTO, Ms Linda Kalpoi has announced to the public that:VTO is   excited to again host a the wonderful event this time, under the Theme “Vanuatu Cultures” to celebrate the uniqueness of Vanuatu’s culture and tradition”.

The Vanuatu Tok Tok tradeshow is an annual event that offers wholesalers and travel industry buyers the opportunity to meet with  local suppliers, exchange ideas and learn about upcoming opportunities in Vanuatu, as well as experience some highlights of this South Pacific destination firsthand.

The Vanuatu Tourism Office is currently getting busy preparing for the 12th Tok Tok Vanuatu event. This year’s international delegates include 55 registered buyers across Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, USA, Europe, Asia, and several media companies.  Everyone will be meeting at the Holiday Inn private island from 27th to 30th August 2013.


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Holiday Inn private island to be used for the Tok Tok
General Manager of the Vanuatu Tourism Office, Linda Kalpoi, praises the Tok Tok Vanuatu tradeshow’s opportunities to conduct business, networking and embracing the local culture.

“We’re proud to be holding our 12th annual Tok Tok, as it’s proven itself to be a worthwhile tourism event for anyone wanting to learn more about the suppliers and highlights of our country. It is the best way for buyers to understand why Vanuatu is such a special place and what is on offer, do business with our local suppliers, and learn how to advise potential travellers and other industry professionals about Vanuatu’s tourism opportunities.”

Tourism is the  primary revenue earner for Vanuatu, with Australian visitors accounting for 61% of international arrivals in 2012.

For additional information on Tok Tok Vanuatu 2013, please contact Anne Morris, Australian Representative, Vanuatu Tourism Office on australia@vanuatu.travel or phone + 61 (0) 2 9028 3577.

Visit the VTO Blog News here

 
 

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VANUATU SPORTS NEWS Vanuatu Brewing Ltd and Executive Officer of the NSW/ACT Division of PGA of Australia have confirmed that players from across Australasia will compete for the $40,000 prize-money. Entries are now open for the 2013 Tusker Vanuatu Open to be held at Port Vila Golf & Country Club Mele. 

Vanuatu Brewing Ltd. has been a proud sponsor of the event for several years. This sponsorship continues to enhance the golf landscape in the country and will once again be a major partner of the tournament.

The VGO is now a significant event on the South Pacific Golfing calendar with the NSWPGA backing and professionals able to gain order of merit points for the PGA in Australia.

Other Sponsors for 2013 are 
Holiday Inn Resort
Palms Casino
Club 21
TVL
Westpac Banking Corporation
Barrett & Partners
Origin Energy
C&K
ASCO Motors
Thornburgh Lawyers
FR8 Logistics
Geoffrey Gee & Partners
Sign Language 
Air Vanuatu

David Barker from The PGA of Australia which continues to promote golf in the South Pacific stated in a press release that:
“It’s exciting to see the tournament continue to grow in popularity. Every aspect of the tournament is planned to perfection and it really does provide a unique island experience for professionals and amateurs alike”

“The event has had some great champions and I’m certain 2013 will be no different” added Barker.
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Vanuatu Golf Open Course
Vanuatu Golf Open 2013 - SNAPSHOT OF THE WEEK 

Tuesday 10th Sept
Registration desk opens (at Holiday Inn) for players to check in with the Committee. This will be followed by the welcome registration cocktail function at the Holiday Inn - a great way to  socialise and meet other players.

Wednesday 11th Sept
the Pro-Am day - this is not a compulsory event but is a fun way to familiarise yourself with the course and an opportunity to play with a Pro (numbers permitting) - this concludes with a 'butt of beef' function at the golf club for presentation of Pro-Am prizes.

Thursday 12th Sept
1st round of the VGO for all players - there will probably be a function at the Holiday Inn on this night, finer details still be to be confirmed - last year it was a beach BBQ at the resort.

Friday 13th Sept
2nd round of the VGO for all players - the Calcutta function is held on the Friday night, at the Anchor Inn.

Saturday 14th Sept
3rd round of the VGO for all players - this is the final day for the ladies and so we have a Ladies Presentation function in the afternoon, in the past this has been held at the golf club so confident it will be the same again this year. Saturday night is a free night to do what you like.

Sunday 15th Sept
4th and final round of the VGO for the men - this will be capped off with the main Presentation function, held at the golf club on Sunday evening.

PAST WINNERS OF THE TUSKER VANUATU GOLF OPEN

Brad McIntosh has won the event three times including his repeat wins in 2007/08.

In 2012 it was Brad McIntosh who also ran away with the Championship with a superb closing round of five-under-par 67 and a total of 12-under-par to win by four shots ahead of New Zealand’s Nick Gillespie.

McIntosh and Gillespie have featured as the front runners in the past two years as Gillespie won the 2011 Title by a record eight strokes over McIntosh.
The entry fees are:
Male entry A$350 (Vt31,500)
Ladies entry A$250 (Vt22,500)
Social pass A$100 (Vt9,000) - for the non-golfer to attend functions
 
 
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VANUATU TOURISM NEWS: Australian media is widely reporting that Australian's are travelling in large numbers to Peru and other South American countries to participate in traditional healing cleansing holiday's.  With Vanuatu's ancient natural healing system, massage techniques and kava, Vanuatu can probably compete in this space and boost rural tourism. 

HUNDREDS of Aussies are flocking to remote parts of the Amazon each year to ingest a hallucinogenic jungle vine and be "cured" by shamans.

"Working with Ayahuasca is an intense, profound and often transformative experience that can lead to some very deep healing on all levels of your being – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It is a doorway to inner worlds that allows us to experience higher states of consciousness and spiritual awakening. To many people it reveals the multi-dimensional nature of reality and ourselves"

Vanuatu can combine happy, healing and custom into a similar experience - 

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A travel Blog describes how a tourist family visiting Tanna island family enjoyed the uplifting Custom experience: 

When we passed the place with the festival there was some dancing going on, so we stopped. It was a festival to celebrate the circumcision of one of the village boys. Lots of kids, with a few older people were huddled together, then a girl started singing and they all joined in. They moved back and forth in a group with jumping and stamping for the rhythm. There were headdresses with white fluffy bits and one person had a sort of branch with the same white decorations. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. It was exciting to see a custom dance that was for real and not put on for tourists.  Read entire story

One of the most common health problem in the world is stress. Kava is natures answer to stress and anxiety.  Yet, the concept of Kava tourism has never been pushed by the Vanuatu Tourism Office.  

One commentator stated that despite all the efforts of Vanuatu Tourism promotion in New Caledonia, a large number of arrivals are coming for the fresh, strong kava!  That is because they already know the healing effect. Now the example of South America healing tourism has been shown, it is likely the Vanuatu Government can look into this as a new niche area for tourism promotion. 
 
 
INTERNATIONAL NEWS: NSW State Emergency Service, said residents living on the central part of the NSW coast should prepare for a battering from Mother Nature. By Sunday night (23rd June 2013) a small low-pressure system will be formed.  Wind forces are expect to reach about 40 knots. This is predicted to affect the entire coast line from Ulladulla up to Sydney and Newcastle 
Becky Gollings, from NSW State Emergency Service, said residents in these areas should prepare for a battering from Mother Nature.
 
 
VANUATU NEWS: As a result of the cease to last years Diplomatic row, two AFP Officers are expected back in Port Vila within 2 – 4 weeks. The Prime Minister of Vanuatu Sato Kilman and the Australian High Commission Port Vila have announced the agreement for the return of two Australian Federal Police officers to return. The announcement coincided with a visit to Port Vila by Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr.

During a ABC Australia interview with Acting Police Commissioner  Colonel Arthur Caulton EDMANLEY and Radio Australia he explained that the return would be in a reduced capacity and primarily to finish of projects left uncompleted when the Diplomatic Row occurred in March 2012.

The agreement is for a ten month period and then there will be a negotiation period during 2014 to establish parameters for a possible new 5 year Project.  He stated that the period from March to December 31st will be available for two AFP offices and support secretarial staff to complete tasks left behind such as Infrastructure and Workforce renewal training capacity.

Colonel Caulton further confirmed that the Vanuatu Police would continue its existing partnership and logistic support assistance from both China and New Zealand. When ABC Correspondent Sam Bolitho asked  Colonel Caulton if Vanuatu would continue these assistances now that the AFP could return such as the Paramilitary VMF Assistance provided by China, Colonel Caulton said “Yes, Of course Yes”.

The full interview can be heard on ABC Radio online here

 
 
PictureConcern about Mama Groan at MSG Symposium
VANUATU SOCIAL NETWORK NEWS: A public statement released on FaceBook by leading land valuations businessman; Levi Tarosa, said that the Mama Graon Program has already spent VT1,600,000,000. 

He questions the effectiveness of the money spent verse results achieved. He disputes the claim that the Mama Groan Program is getting anywhere near the objectives of  "Fair & Equitable Land Dealings” as decided at the Land Summit 2006. 


UPDATE: Russel Nari from Mama Groan has replied via a Press Statement - Details below.
Levi Tarosa is asking Lands Department, Malvatumauri and Vanuatu Cultural Center as well as the public to comment on this nation wide, deep custom & sovereignty  issue. He stated on the 15th January 2013:
Total Cost blong "Mama Graon Program" lo Lands Department & Malvatumauri (& VKS) emi around VT1.6 BILLION. MGP emi sappos blo lukluk mo implementem ol resolution blong Land Summit (2006), wan of which is Removal blo Sect 8 blong Land Reform Act, pe stampa tingting emi blong ensure se ikat "Fair & Equitable Land Dealings". Despite the fact that yumi kat wan VT1.6 BILLION worth AusAID funded project long kantri ya, ol Landowners blong Efate oli kontinue blong "experiencem" ol UNFAIR & INEQUITABLE LAND DEALINGS wea emi 100% opposite blong wanem Land Summit emi toktabout 6 or 7 YEARS ago. Wanem tingting blong YTS long Mama Graon Program?????

At last week’s Melanesian Spearhead Group Summit reflecting on the Independence struggles, brith and growth of the Melanesian nations. He expressed concern regarding what he described as an AusAid plan for widespread facilitation of leases in Vanuatu and PNG. Sethy Reganvanu requested the MSG Secretariat to take up this issue.  READ ARTICLE

There is also rumor that a concerned Chief has been conducting a research paper over the past 8 months. The report, to be released shortly, apparently shows that Chiefs on 4 islands (Epi, Malekula, Santo, Pentecost) had next to zero awareness of what the Mama Groan Project was about.  All Chiefs interviewed were reported to express complete shock at the suggestion that planning the future of their individual custom lands could be, in the future, more directed from an office in Port Vila.  


Levi Tarosa further commented that most of the VT1.6 billion vatu has been spent paying Expatriates and that because there are no results the Mama Groun Project has failed “Big Time”. He Stated to the Yumi Tok Stret Forum: 

Wan AusAID document oli kolem RFT wea oli rilisim long 2010, emi mekem statement ya about Mama Graon Program...."The Goal is that all Vanuatu people benefit from the equitable and sustainable development of thier land, while securing the heritage of future generations". Mi sori blong talem pe MGP emi fail BIG TIME blong deliver lo goal ya....MGP mo Lands Dept oli stap anda same roof nomo pe oli watchem nomo as 2,000 hactare blong traditional land worth in excess of VT100 million emi lose into thin air olsem nomo. VT1.6 Billion istap fulumap pocket blong ol expat consultants while poor mama blong market blong Taleva oli stap silip long floor blong market. Land Admin System must change....

IN REPLY: Russel Nari from Mama Groan has explained that the project is only in the second year out of a 5 year plan. Currently some Government departments "project partners" are completing their stage two documents.  Full Audio of this comment from Russel Nari will follow shortly.
 
 
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VANUATU TOURISM NEWS: Vanuatu Open Water Swim, Wilco Island Relay, Vanuatu Triathlon and many more annual events have made Vanuatu be recognised as the leading destination for sports and recreation in the South Pacific says TravelMole.com. Now there are international events covering everything from running to trekking, swimming, abseiling, kayaking, snorkelling and archery.

Vanuatu's clean fresh air, safety and happiness is the main reason international sports people are holidaying and challenging themselves physically in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu Triathlon, 
27 April 2013
Havannah Harbour, Efate

Vanuatu Open Water Swim
15 June 2013
Port Vila, Efate

Wilco Island Relay
20 July 2013
Around Efate

75km Multi Sport, 
17 August 2013
Havannah Harbour, Efate

Vanuatu Adventure Race
18 - 20 October 2013
Around Efate
Vanuatu Triathlon, 27 April 2013
Havannah Harbour, Efate

On Havannah Harbour, competitors go head-to-head in an
Olympic distance triathlon course starting with a 1.5km swim in tropical reef filled waters, followed by a 40km bike ride through Efate's lush landscape and villages, and finishing with a 10km run. This can be an individual challenge or teams of three can compete together. www.eventlogicvanuatu.com

50km Multi Sport, 19 May 2013
Port Vila, Efate

In this entry-level multi sport competitors get to swim and paddle for 1km in Port Vila's lagoon, followed by a 40km bike ride along coastline of Efate, before a 6km run to cross the finish line. www.racevanuatu.com

Vanuatu Open Water Swim, 15 June 2013
Port Vila, Efate

The premier event is a 3.2km swim around the Island of Iririki,
in Port Vila harbour. For newcomers to the sport there is also a
shorter 1.5km swim in the harbour over a triangular course. All levels are welcomed. www.vanuatuswim.com

Wilco Island Relay, 20 July 2013
Around Efate

Teams of 10 battle it out on the 132km track around Efate Island in this relay race of endurance through tropical jungle, beaches and local villages. www.islandrelay.com

75km Multi Sport, 17 August 2013
Havannah Harbour, Efate

Teams of three can take on the challenge to become the ultimate weekend warriors by out running, swimming, riding and paddling the other teams in a 1.5km swim, 60km bike ride,4.5km paddle and 9.5km run. www.racevanuatu.com

Two day - Multi Sport Championship, 21
and 22 September 2013
Around Efate

Held over two days, this multi sport event is for teams of two competing in different activities such as tubing, running, swimming, paddling, biking, horse-riding and more mystery activities taking place throughout Efate. www.racevanuatu.com

Vanuatu Adventure Race, 18 - 20 October 2013
Around Efate

The Vanuatu Adventure Race is an annual event which takes place over three days in Efate, combining trekking, swimming, abseiling, kayaking, snorkelling and archery. www.racevanuatu.com



 
 
The proposed Port Vila Urban Development Project (PUDP) will improve drainage, roads and sanitation systems in greater Port Vila (municipality and adjacent urban and peri-urban areas in the Shefa province). The Project will implement the recommendations of the drainage and sanitation master plan prepared through a project preparatory technical assistance (PPTA) which identified priority interventions for improved access to, and delivery of drainage and sanitation services to the residents of Port Vila. It will support affordable, sustainable, and effective sanitation, roads and storm water drainage services, and contribute to climate resilient and sustainable urban development in and around Port Vila. The project will address the following key issues: (i) Link between sanitation and drainage and road development. It is critical to coordinate and integrate the design and implementation of the drainage and sanitation project within the long-term priorities for urban infrastructure development in and around Port Vila, particularly with the development plans for the road sector. (ii) Poor coordination in the delivery of services and weak capacity of institutions. The responsibilities of relevant agencies involved in urban development are not clearly delineated. Coordination among these agencies is poor, and concerned agencies have limited capacity in urban planning and lack human resources. A dearth of skills, resources, and performance incentives makes it difficult to provide high-quality public services. (iii) Role of hygiene as an integral part of improved sanitation. As the sanitation master plan emphasizes the role of hygiene in the improvement of public health, complementary sanitation and hygiene promotion will be implemented alongside investment in infrastructure and facilities. This includes adequate drainage within communities, as a part of hygiene and public health and training and awareness programs. (iv) Gender mainstreaming and universal access to basic services. Approaches and methodology will be developed for hygiene and health education and awareness activities, to ensure active involvement of the youth and women in the peri-urban, informal and rural settlements. Existing and newly created women groups will be made part of the management and maintenance of the community hygiene facilities. The pros and cons of adopting local employment generation as part of the project strategy during the design and preparation of the investment project will also be identified. (v) Operations and Maintenance (O&M) and sustainability of drainage and sanitation services. The sustainability of drainage, roads and sanitation services is heavily dependent upon appropriate institutional arrangements for O&M, including debt servicing and cost recovery. The project envisaged that cost recovery will be achieved by increasing property taxes or other direct charges such as user fees or levies. It is anticipated that the O&M services will be outsourced to private service providers, supervised by the Government. (vi) Mitigating adverse environmental impacts and adapting to climate change. These can be achieved by emphasizing in the project design appropriate investment in climate proofing to ensure a sustainable and climate resilient urban development in Port Vila.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional StrategyPort Vila, with approximately 44,000 residents, is the largest population center, main commercial center and the seat of government in Vanuatu. It has already expanded beyond its originally defined urban boundaries due to rapid economic development, rural-urban migration, and the proliferation of informal settlements. The estimated population of the resulting 'Greater Port Vila' area in 2009 was 58,000 residents. By 2025, this figure will reach 109,000. This does not take into account the growing number of tourists that visit Port Vila and/or transit through the city to different tourism destinations in the country. The tourism sector is the lifeline of the national economy. Urban development and quality of urban services in Port Vila have significant implications for economic growth and overall development of Vanuatu. Despite efforts by the government to build the necessary infrastructure, i.e., telecommunication, and water supply, significant inadequacies continue to exist particularly in drainage, roads, sanitation, and hygiene services. The poor conditions of these services are adversely affecting public health, economic activities, and the overall quality of life of Port Vila residents and visitors. Vanuatu is also extremely vulnerable to natural disasters due to it its geographical location in the ring of fire and the cyclone belt of the Pacific. It is at risk from a wide range of climate-related hazards including coastal erosion, tropical cyclones, floods, landslides, and drought, which are expected to increase in severity and frequency as a result of climate change, warranting emphasis on climate proofing of infrastructure, policy and institutional capacity building for disaster risk management, and improving climate resiliency. The government has a Priorities and Action Agenda (PAA) 2006-2015 and a medium-term action program, entitled Planning Long, Acting Short Action Program . It prioritizes a set of short- and medium-term development initiatives. Sustainable urban development through improved access to basic services such as sanitation and drainage facilities and urban infrastructure is an important priority for the government. This has been identified among the three core sectors for support under the Asian Development Bank s (ADB) Country Partnership Strategy for Vanuatu (CPS) 2010-2014. The CPS also places emphasis on long-term support for country systems and capacities in core areas such as rural and urban infrastructure. In partnership with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), ADB, through the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility (PRIF), is expected to assist the government to improve urban infrastructure and services in Port Vila and its peri-urban areas. AusAID s Governance for Growth (GfG) initiative is providing a wide range of support to the urban transport sector in Port Vila and other parts of the country. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is supporting capacity building and selected interventions in waste management and monitoring. The New Zealand Aid Program is working in partnership with ADB to improve interisland shipping services with significant link to urban development.

ImpactUrban development of Port Vila is sustainable