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.
With increased prospects on a widening Pacific travel bubble in the next few months, Samoa Tourism Authority held a casual lunch and informative presentation for trade and media partners at Swashbucklers in Auckland last Friday.
Sonny Rivers, who handles the New Zealand market for STA, says that the opening of trans-Tasman borders and continued hope that Rarotonga and Niue will open to Kiwis soon are steps in the right direction for Pacific travel.
The Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) is leading ongoing renovation works for sites within the country with assistance from the New Zealand Government through the Samoa Tourism Growth Partnership (STGP).
The partnership is a five-year investment since 2017, which also includes broader support of product development, tourism training and destination marketing.
As talks of two way international travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands increase, travel agents are encouraged to become Cook Islands specialists through an all new online training platform from Cook Islands Tourism that focuses on the two most popular of the 15 islands - Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
The training platform features five modules: About the Cook Islands; About Rarotonga; Where to stay and things to do in Rarotonga; About Aitutaki; Where to stay and things to do in Aitutaki.
With Skal Nadi’s Christmas Party being cancelled due to Tropical Cyclone Yasa in December, the New Year’s event was the first time members had been able to meet for just on two months.
The meeting was held at a Nadi Skaleague’s restaurant, Nadina Authentic Fijian Restaurant at Port Denarau where owner Amy Subam arranged a menu of traditional local cuisine. About 30 people attended, including the entire Nadi-based membership. The acting CEO of Tourism Fiji, Robert Thompson was the official guest and gave an update on the latest news from the organisation.
Agents looking for information and advice on the Cook Islands in anticipation of a travel corridor can access an Instagram page that gives tips in the destination.
Erin Micthell has been living in the Cooks for two and a half years and says the border closure has given her the chance to explore her own back yard.
‘I’ve created an account called Top 5 Cook Islands,’ says Mitchell. ‘Every week I select a category and highlight my top five – everything from great places to eat, sleep, drink and swim will be covered.’
New Caledonia Tourism has appointed Nouvelle Vague Marketing to represent the destination in New Zealand and Australia.
Translating to ‘French New Wave’, Nouvelle Vague is headed up by tourism industry specialist Caroline Brunel.
With more than 20 years’ experience in destination marketing (including five years working on New Caledonia), Brunel has worked across major DMOs and wholesale, on both client and agency side,
Fiji is high on the list of New Zealanders’ travel aspirations lists right now and many would pack their bags and go if the borders opened now, according to research released late last week.
Tourism Fiji partnered with Mediaworks at the end of 2020 to survey Kiwis around their mindset towards Fiji for a holiday. The research targeted listeners on three radio stations – MoreFM, The Breeze and George FM.
A well known Fiji adventure tourism operation is on the market.
The sale of Excitor Fiji includes two boats, a semi sub, and other aspects of the business and intellectual property.
The vessels service a number of destinations out of Denarau, including the new platform 7th Heaven which Excitor will serve exclusively.
Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA) has a new destination training website for the trade.
Designed to immerse agents in the history, culture, adventures and unique stories of Papua New Guinea, as well as provide lots of practical information, the platform will help to increase destination knowledge and support the industry to better sell the destination.
The Cook Islands has created a new virtual reality feature online, showcasing six of the nation’s 15 islands.
Agents can navigate their way virtually around popular islands such as Rarotonga and Aitutaki from a computer, tablet or mobile device, whilst utilising the 360 navigation tool for an expanded outlook on accommodation, lagoons, scenic views and sites, plus dining facilities and activity locations.
Tropica Island Resort will temporarily close for international arrivals until 31 March 2021 and will reopen on 1 April 2021.
Wayne Deed, director of sales and marketing, says the decision was made in light of it looking extremely unlikely that Fiji will be open any time over the next few months.
A selection of 56 self catering properties and holiday homes in Rarotonga and Aitutaki, as well as hotels and resorts, are among the features of a new 36 page online brochure that focuses on the Cook Islands.
Released by Discover Cook Islands, a division of the Turama Pacific Travel Group, the brochure also has sample five and seven night stays in the destination. Rates are public and commissionable to bona fide travel agencies at 12%. Pricing is valid through to 31 March 2021 and the company will produce a further version for the next rate year.
Vanuatu Tourism Office’s latest campaign, We’re Saving You A Spot, aims to motivate travellers to put Vanuatu on their holiday list.
The office says Vanuatu has remained Covid free and is ‘cautiously holding discussions and looking to open borders with New Zealand.’
Fiji has set out a guideline to restart tourism, utilising VIP (Vacation in Paradise) lanes, that will see arrivals from Australia and New Zealand ‘holidaying in a manner that is carefully controlled and safely insulated’.
New Zealand will miss an important opportunity to travel safely if a South Pacific bubble doesn't open soon, according to Daniel Eggenberger, general manager of Air Tahiti Nui.
Tahiti is opening to visitors from 15 July, with pre-departure health checks required by visitors.
Airing fortnightly on Tourism Fiji’s YouTube Channel, ‘Happy Hour TV’ will be available for international travellers and locals alike to tune in for an extra dose of Fiji happiness.
In the first episode the hosts report on the revival of bartering across Fiji as they speak with the founder of the revolutionary Facebook page, ‘Barter for Better Fiji.’ This Facebook group was created during the pandemic as a way for Fijians who are short on cash to still collect the items and resources they need.
A leading hospitality personality in the Cook Islands has added his voice to calls for travel between that destination and New Zealand to be opened as soon as possible.
‘There are a number of reasons that make this logical and beneficial to both countries,’ says Tata Crocombe, chairman of Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort, The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium and other properties and products. He is also founder of hospitable.tech.ai.
New Caledonia Tourism has a new trade website and e-learning platform for travel agents.
Designed to grow agents’ knowledge and understanding of New Caledonia, both the website and platform feature practical information to engage the industry with the South Pacific archipelago.
A well known Kiwi representative for Pacifc Island destinations and products has called for innovative ideas to boost travel in the region when it is safe to do so.
Susan Williams, of Hogan and Associates, says one such idea borrows from the past, but generated plenty of interest when she mentioned it on Facebook over the weekend.
Felicity Bollen is departing the role of Niue Tourism chief executive. Prior to a five-year tenure leading Niue Tourism she worked as the business development manager of the Niue Chamber of Commerce for two years.
Bollen will continue to contribute to the development of the Pacific region, taking up the position in early May of director of Pacific Connections at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade based in Auckland.
Edgewater Resort and Spa and Club Raro in the Cook Islands are increasingly being marketed as a ‘combined force’ under the banner of Island Hotels Group.
Sydney-based Caroline Brunel of Nouvelle Vague Marketing is the new representative for Tahiti Tourisme in the Australia and New Zealand markets.
A yacht club where none of the members have yachts or are interested in sailing (but the hospitality is great), and a jail with no inmates are just two of the quirky touches to Niue that Fuzion Travel brokers discovered during their conference in the destination over the weekend.
Agents who deal with group travel of various sorts were the target audience of a joint destination Pacific event at Villa Maria Estate near Auckland Airport mid October.
Organiser Faye Spooner says Meet the Pacific was aimed at incentive, meeting and conference organisers but beyond that had appeal to wedding planners and organisers of sports and educational tours, as well as travel agents who send inter-generational and other family groups to the Pacific. While most of the ‘buyers’ were from Auckland, agents also came from Wellington, Christchurch, New Plymouth and Rotorua.
Sharp industry airfares with Aircalin and a selection of trade deals with New Caledonia properties and transport operators are encouraging New Zealand agents to conduct a self famil of the destination.
New adventures to Vanuatu’s emerging destinations of Ambrym and Malekula have been developed by Vanuatu EcoTours, and follow the launch of the company’s three-day Trek Tanna tour earlier this year.
All 38 spots for Tourism Fiji’s Matai mega famil scheduled for 17 to 24 November 2019 have been filled after more than 200 expressions of interest were registered earlier this month.
Bula Bride has acquired the wedding business I Was Married In Fiji (IWMIF). Bula Bride’s director, Leanne Goff says Bula Bride is the busiest weddings website in Fiji and wanted to extend its potential reach further.
Public-private partnerships and a shared vision between Vanuatu Tourism Office, Air Vanuatu and Vanuatu Airports Ltd were some of the initiatives shared at the 17th Tok Tok tourism event in Vanuatu last week. This followed the previous week’s reveal of the country’s new tourism brand and tagline – Answer the Call of Vanuatu. Launched in January, the 2030 Aviation and Tourism Vision pulls together in-market destination awareness, air connectivity and aviation infrastructure development to ensure not only more international visitors, but dispersal into the provinces. According to Vanuatu’s 2018 International Visitor Survey, just 10% of visitors travelled beyond the main island of Efate.
‘Our aim is for 10 to 30% of visitors to disperse among the six provinces, says Adela Issachar, chief executive officer of VTO. ‘We need the connectivity to work, the pricing has to be right and the flights reliable and on time.’ In addition to the Tourism Vision, an upcoming amendment to the Vanuatu Tourism Office Act will mean that all tourism operators will need to contribute to tourism office funding. Issachar says the amendment will also ensure that operators abide by tourism standards. ‘They will need to obtain a permit and be market ready and able to benefit from destination marketing. It is about the quality of the product and experience they are offering.’ More than 50 buyers and 50 sellers enjoyed a positive vibe at Tok Tok, filling the conference centre at Warwick Le Lagon in Port Vila. Scheduled appointments doubled over 2018 to 1020 and there were around a dozen new products exhibiting.
Many of the new products had come on line over the last two years but were only now ready for the international market. The VTO has worked with training providers and established operators to help get them up to speed. ‘They are now able to exhibit because they are market ready,’ says Issachar. ‘We’re also helping travel centres package better itineraries and product. ‘We have come along way, the last two years have been busy working and this is a great result. We’ve had private sector input, shared resources and identified specific market segments.’ One of those segments is weddings which continues to be a big focus for VTO. Business events is another, and by the end of the year the VTO intends to appoint a dedicated business events specialist.