With Tok Tok Vanuatu 2014 in full swing, KarryOn chats to Linda Kalpoi, General Manager of Vanuatu Tourism Office, on all things travel, tourism and Vanuatu.
Tok Tok Vanuatu 2014, an event that allows buyers and sellers to experience the wonderment of Vanuatu, began on the 26th of August.
Thus far, in its 11th year of running, the event has attracted record crowds and has given media and agents an opportunity to get a taste of the Espiritu Santo, Tanna and Malekula islands of Vanuatu.
Spear-heading the event is Linda Kalpoi, General Manager of Vanuatu Tourism Office and, for the second time round, The Commissioner General for the World Expo.
“Tok Tok means ‘talk’ so a perfect name for our business networking event,” she says.
Kalpoi hopes that the event will trigger a growth in the amount of product being promoted abroad, a renewal in commitment and passion from key stakeholders, along with building a stronger relationship between buyers and sellers.
“We want to reinforce that Vanuatu is more than one island,” she says.
However, her desire to promote Vanuatu stems farther back than the event. Her passion for the island nation was entrenched in Kalpoi during her school years.
Kalpoi in the making.
Back at school, Kalpoi was trained to be a tour guide and worked weekends as a guide for cruise ship tours to the Erakor village and Mele village.
“After leaving college I was inspired by staff who were working in the Vanuatu visitors bureau,” she says. “When an ad appeared in the local paper for an information officer with them, I applied and that was in 1984.”
Kalpoi succeeded in acquiring the position and slowly worked her way up the ranks to become the acting General Manager 24 years later.
Though, her career successes didn’t stop there.
In 2012, Kalpoi was appointed the Commissioner General for the World Expo for the first time. Her second time in the plum position will be in 2015 when the event takes place in Milan, Italy.
“This is a role I do not take lightly as representing Vanuatu at this recognised worldwide event is such an honour,” she says.
The reason Kalpoi has dedicated her entire life to promoting Vanuatu is her deep love for the island nation.
“My passion comes from my love for the people in Vanuatu, especially when I visit the outer islands and see people living such happy and simple lives,” she says.
Vanuatu, a jewel in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, attracts roughly 200 000 visitors per annum.
While containing a smaller population, it boasts 113 distinct languages and innumerable dialects, making it one of the most culturally diverse countries on earth.
The island nation, a republic since 1980, boasts a rich natural offering. From clear blue oceans, white sand beaches, live volcanoes and tropical flora and fauna.
It is no wonder that tourism is the republic’s top economic priority.
“There are the beautiful Ra Islands in the Banks,” Kalpoi says. “Torres islands, Vanuatu’s most northern islands that are far removed from modern Vanuatu. Port Olry in Espiritu Santo is a great spot for lunch and a swim and I love Tanna as it just has so much magic.”
Vanuatu has also twice been proclaimed the happiest place on earth.
“It’s a fascinating place for tourists to come and see,” Kalpoi says.
For more information on Vanuatu, please visit their Tourism Office.
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