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Official opening of Friendly Beach resort Tanna island, Vanuatu

June 1, 2017 Hotel Openings No Comments Email Email

Viewers of “Tanna the Movie” would have loved the celebrations given by Tanna people for the opening of Friendly Beach this week in Tanna, Vanuatu by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, the Hon Mr Joe Natuman. 

Over five hundred people attended the celebration and as in Tanna the Movie, the colour, the language, the sheer impact of custom and culture was unique and overwhelming , it was breath-taking.

Friendly Beach is a small resort on the east coast of Tanna owned by Australian Joanne Wade and her immediate family. The property was destroyed by cyclone Pam in 2015 and Joanne made the decision to rebuild only four unique villas and rebrand as Friendly Beach, a boutique luxury adventure resort.

“I would like to thank the Hon Mr Joe Natuman for making time in is schedule to fly here to Tanna and make the official opening of Friendly Beach today” said Joanne, owner of the resort.

“It was a huge decision to rebuild after cyclone Pam in 2015 and only with the support of the local communities and the people of Tanna has this day been possible” she continued.  “My son Lucas Rotteveel quit his job in Australia after cyclone Pam and came over to Vanuatu to help, and stayed to continue the design and oversee the rebuild of Friendly Beach, you can see the influence of his design in the villas and the landscape here today”.

Joanne Wade and her son, a landscape architect, took over one year to reclaim, rebuild and rebrand the property, using all local materials and local labour in the rebuild process.

“It has been a struggle at times but today it is all worthwhile, I feel extremely proud to be here and the demonstration of support by the local communities is fantastic” said Joanne.

The Hon Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism Mr Joe Natuman and his delegation made the trip to Tanna especially for the opening ceremony.  The communities of the east coast Whitesands area, in particular Lono, Lonosunan and Lopali made a huge welcome for the Minister and his delegation. The motor cade was met by over two hundred dancers all in custom dress and the dignitaries were escorted by the dancers, men and women singing and the John Frum musicians to the entrance of Friendly Beach for the opening ceremony.

Ms Wade gave an emotive speech acknowledging the struggle and challenges and the magnificent outcome of the rebuild and Mr Natuman made his positive and congratulatory opening address.

Other members of the delegation including the Director of Tourism Mr Donald Pellam,  and rebuild architect Lucas Rotteveel also spoke and the ceremony was completed with traditional kava ceremony and a champagne toast.

Joanne purchased the property approximately nine years ago, and has developed an excellent relationship with the Tannese people in the nearby communities who led the celebrations for the opening. Joanne is an investor in Vanuatu who also owns Poppys on the Lagoon resort and a representative of VIPA ( Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority) also made the trip to Tanna especially to attend the opening ceremony. Ms Wade is the number one permit holder for VIPA and her work in tourism and the success of both her investments, Poppys on the Lagoon and now Friendly Beach was acknowledged by the speakers, describing Ms Wade and the rebuild of Friendly Beach as an example for development in Vanuatu.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

PLEASE CONTACT JOANNE WADE joanne@poppys.com.vu or by phone +678 7743425

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