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32 REGION AUSTRALIA & PACIFIC so Much More than Azure seas A plethora of Pacific Paradises presented by South Pacific Tourism Organization Cook Islands There has never been a better time to visit the Tropical south Pacific than now according to the regional tourism board. And they intend to prove it at ITB Berlin… This stunning area is home to people who have been largely un-spoilt by the trappings of the outside world and who continue to live a traditional lifestyle. They place kinship and kindness above the socalled civilized values of material possessions and wealth, making the South Pacific the perfect remedy for a rejuvenating holiday experience. The local people rely daily on the natural bounty of the sea and the land and still live like their forebears; in harmony with nature and all the gifts she has bestowed on this vast expanse of oceans and islands. To quote a well-known travel journalist who, writing about the South Pacific, said: “These are the lands before the wind. Life is lived in the moment. Tomorrow is only a concept. Today is a joy.” Presenting this dream at ITB Berlin 2013 is the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO). With a membership of 15 exquisite Island states, the SPTO welcomes you to explore the Islands of the tropics at the South Pacific Village. Destinations to be discovered at the Village include Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu. a taSte of the cooK iSLaNdS The Cook Islanders will be presenting a very special cultural and gastronomic treat at ITB Berlin, where visitors get to meet the locals and eat the local food, in order to obtain a sense of the lively culture of this South Pacific nation during what is known as a “progressive dinner”. “Over three stages during the evening, the guest meets three local hosts and eats three different dishes including Ika Mata, a typical appetizer of marinated tuna, then a fish barbecue with taro leaf followed by freshly harvested fruit salad - a taste sensation is guaranteed,“ said Temu Okotai, Managing Director of Cook Island Tours. “Guests can also check what is going on in the cooking pot, listen to local music performances and even learn some Maori words like “E ra kai” – (enjoy your meal)! The dinners take place on Mondays and Thursdays on the Rarotonga stand. toNga The Kingdom of Tonga is known as the True South Pacific. It is un-spoilt, and large parts of it remain uninhabited. Named the Friendly Islands by Captain James Cook in 1773, the Kingdom of Tonga is made up of 176 islands of which only 40 are inhabited. These are made up of the main island of Tongatapu and ‘Eua in the south, with Ha’apai in the middle and the Vava’u group in the north. Tonga is the world’s only remaining Polynesian monarchy and that monarchy is one of the most important elements of Tongan culture. It is the only South Pacific country never to have been colonised by a foreign power and is one of only four countries in the world where one is allowed to swim with whales. The Humpback whales travel the Arctic to Tongan waters once a year to mate and give birth. Travellers are given the once-in-alifetime chance to swim with these magnificent giants of the deep. On top of that, every village across the islands has a history and a tale of its own to tell. There are no crowds on the beach, and no overdevelopment ruining the beauty of the landscape. It’s a place in harmony with the rhythms of nature, a place with its own gentle pace. VaNuatu Situated in the South West Pacific, Vanuatu is an archipelago of 82 islands that boasts 113 distinct, languages making it one of the most culturally diverse countries on earth. This diversity is mirrored in the ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 27 th February 2013

AUSTRALIA & PACIFIC REGION 33 and Waving Palms geography of the islands, some being of a coral base and five having active volcanoes. The visitor to Vanuatu is welcomed to a land where one can experience all the South Pacific has to offer. As it was once a colony of France and Great Britain, both French and English are widely spoken. A love of good food from their French heritage is evidenced by the number of good restaurants, small French bakeries and daily markets of fresh produce. The northern island of Espiritu Santo has splendid white, sandy beaches, jungle-clad mountains and offers superb SCUBA diving. The world’s largest wreck dive, ‘The President Coolidge’, is also found here. The adventurous can explore caves, trek in the jungle or visit remote tribes and canoe down rivers. Tanna is home to the world’s most accessible active volcano and to the John Frum Cargo Cult society. Many local festivals are held on this island where both custom and culture are very much part of everyday life, and where in some villages, people live as they have always lived - in a simple subsistence style. Visitors are welcome to these traditional villages to witness their ceremonies and their way of life Samoa Samoa Tourism Authority is delighted to be exhibiting at ITB Berlin 2013 to showcase the islands’ incredible calendar of events for this year including the Samoa International Game Fishing Tournament in April, Samoa Tourism Exchange 2013, the 12th International Siva Afi Competition in May, and the annual Teuila Festival, one of the biggest cultural festivals in the South Pacific in September. The islands of Samoa are made up of ten islands with a fascinating culture. Samoa offers the ultimate and authentic South Pacific experience, from powdersoft beaches to warm tropical seas and colourful coral reefs alive with marine life, through to the rugged, lush, mountainous rainforest with its endless wildlife, water-falls and lagoons. Samoa is a haven for those wanting a relaxing holiday or honeymoon complete with spas, pampering and secluded beaches. For the more adventurous, Samoa offers hiking trails, cycling routes, world class snorkelling and diving as well as some of the best surf locations in the South Pacific. Apia is home to the museum and former home of ‘Treasure Island’ author Robert Louis Stevenson, which makes a great afternoon tour. The wilder sister island of Savai’i is even more unspoiled with rugged landscape, jawdropping volcano craters, lava fields and ancient mounds. The wealth of natural attractions ensures a varied and unforgettable experience for any visitor. Hall 5.2 B Stand 103 ThEsE ArE ThE LANDs BEFOrE ThE WIND. LIFE Is LIVED IN ThE MOMENT. TOMOrrOW Is ONLy A CONCEPT. TODAy Is A jOy. Havannah Swimming with whales ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 27 th February 2013

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