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Famil review: TravelManagers in Vanuatu

Vanuatu delivers surprise and delight on exclusive TravelManagers famil

Melbourne-based PTMs at Port Vila’s L’Houstalet Restaurant (L-R): Valerie Galanou, Naomi Liss, Theresa Kwong, Carli Hester and Hanedy Bakhach


For holiday makers looking at the different options available for their next South Pacific beach holiday, Vanuatu has a lot to offer – as nine personal travel managers (PTMs) learned during an exclusive TravelManagers famil last month.


The five-day itinerary, travelling with Viva Holidays and Air Vanuatu and escorted by TravelManagers Business Partnership Manager Julia McLean, was enough to provide the participants with an overview of the beautiful scenery and amazing cultural experiences that Vanuatu provides.


“My time in Vanuatu has really opened my eyes to what makes it such a great choice for a holiday,” reports Hanedy Bakhach, who is TravelManagers’ representative for Lysterfield, VIC.


“There is so much to do and see, you don’t have to travel to another island to find great beaches and swimming, and you don’t have to drive for hours to reach many of the most popular attractions.”


Among those attractions were the Eton Blue Lagoon, a stunning natural water hole that’s surrounded by beautiful gardens and furnished with rope swings from which swimmers can launch themselves into the clear water.


TravelManagers’ Julia McLean (BPM), Naomi Liss, Carli Hester, Valeria Galanou, Hanaby Bakhach, Serena Taylor & Lindy Hill at Eton Blue Lagoon.


En route to the lagoon, the group visited the Pepeyo Cultural Village, where they received fascinating insights into the distinctive customs of traditional Vanuatu life.


“I really enjoyed learning about tribal customs before the arrival of Christianity,” says Valerie Galanou, representative for Doncaster East VIC.


“For example, I learned that local women used to have their two front teeth pulled upon marriage and were buried alive with their husband if he passed away!”


The famil group had the chance to learn more about Vanuatu’s present-day culture and the daily lives of the local people during a guided tour through the lush, tropical rainforest to reach the famed Mele Cascades and Waterfall.


On arrival, they had time to enjoy a refreshing swim in the clear natural rock pool at the foot of the cascades before returning Port Vila.


Enjoying a dip at Mele Cascade waterfall rock pool (L-R) PTMs Lindy Hill, Theresa Kwong, Julia McLean (Business Partnership Manager) & Hanaby Bakhach


They also spent an unforgettable day on Hideaway Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary, which is set on a small coral atoll within a protected marine sanctuary. 


“The snorkelling on Hideaway Island was incredible,” enthuses Bakhach.


“It’s such a beautiful, untouched island, with crystal clear water, amazing varieties of fish to see… and it’s only a short boat ride from the mainland.”


For the nine participants, the chance to get to know Vanuatu personally has given them excellent first-hand knowledge to pass on to their clients.


“It will definitely make selling Vanuatu as a destination a lot easier for me,” says PTM Lindy Hill.


TravelManagers’ Theresa Kwong (left) and eight fellow PTMs visited the local church of their Evergreen tour guide, Gladys (right)


“It’s been 25 years since I was last there, and it was great to see the new resorts that have been built and how the older resorts have been updated.”


“It was also helpful to learn about the various guided tours that are available for clients wanting to experience the local culture.


“I now have some great restaurants to recommend to clients, plus plenty of great insider tips such as the best place to change currency,” adds Bakhach.


“My perception of Vanuatu has changed completely, and I would love to see and experience more.”


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Published: 18 March 2020

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