TANGKU TUMAS VANUATU! Vanuatu Tourism Awards for Excellence

Tilma Group Managing Director volunteered over 5 weeks of her time to assist and support the 2016 Vanuatu Tourism Awards. As a judge, Linda was involved in assessing over 25 written submissions, visiting over 15 operators in the country and presenting a professional development workshop on content marketing in Port Villa.

Over 58 businesses, from across five provinces, entered this year’s Vanuatu Tourism Awards, in a heartening sign of the tourism industry's recovery after Cyclone Pam.

The finalists and winners celebrated on Friday night at the Awards presentation and gala dinner, which was held at the Warwick Le Lagon Conference Centre in Port Villa.  The same week that Vanuatu was awarded the title of the 4th happiest country in the world, something they earn quite easily. This is their turning point!

What an amazing and enriching experience. It was fantastic to see over 58 businesses from across the country getting involved, after what has been a horrific year for the tourism industry in Vanuatu. The resilience, tenacity and passion these operators have is inspiring and heartwarming.
— Linda Tillman

The 2016 Vanuatu Tourism Awards Finalists + Winners


Island Style

Winner - Rah Paradise Bungalow
Finalists - Malowia GuesthouseParay Lodge


Winner - Fatumaru Lodge
Finalists - Oyster Island



Winner - Ratua Private Island
Finalists - The Havannah Resort




Winner - Flower Garden Water Music
Finalists - Manbush Trail TourManples Tours

Recreational/Soft Adventure

Winner - Evergreen Vanuatu Ltd
Finalists - Vanuatu Helicopters Ltd, Modern Village Tour


Customer Service

Customer Service

Winner - Christina Karli - Oyster Island Espiritu
Finalists - Maria Teeta - Eden on the River
Valentine Aru - Moyyan House by the Sea

Behind the Scenes

Winner - Michel Sipi - Eden on the River
Finalists - Johanson Merah - Adventures in Paradise
Rosen Kaltapas - Vanuatu Helicopters Ltd

Tour Guide

Winner - Max Zacharie - Vanuatu Jungle Zipline
Finalists - Luaki Nabanga - Big Blue Diving
Ellen Toka - Adventures in Paradise

Handicraft Ambassador

Winner - Peter Dick (self-employed)
Finalists - Alice Silas Makilebu - Abel Silas Handicraft Shop


Transport Ambassador

Winner - WIlliam Mackenzie - Eden on the River
Finalists - Jonas Sumu (self-employed)

Throughout the process of judging the awards Linda is fortunate enough to get to know many operators and the staff working behind the scenes at the Department of Tourism and Vanuatu Tourism Office. Some of her key learnings and highlights from this experience include:

  • Sharing her marketing knowledge and skills with operators who have an immense appreciation for everything you share with them;

  • Taking part in the Man Bush Trek on the remote island of Malakula – living with a local family in the villages for 4 days is an experience that will stick in little’s heart forever;

  • Spending time with fellow judges and making new friends for life;

  • Gaining a newfound appreciation for the little things in life – the Ni Vanuatu are the happiest and friendliest people she has ever met;

  • Having the opportunity to see the Vanuatu Independence Day celebrations and understanding how much this means to the country;

  • Enjoying the many great cultural and adventure activities that this country has to offer – so much diverse product, and it’s on our doorstep.

Vanuatu is an amazing destination, full of rich cultural experiences, adrenaline pumping adventure activities, glorious beaches, family resorts and the most gorgeous people you will ever meet. Best of all, it is on Australia’s doorstep!!
— Linda Tillman
Cristy HoughtonComment