You’d be forgiven for thinking one set of South Pacific islands offers the same experience for holidaymakers as another. With white sandy beaches, clear waters, swaying palm trees and upmarket hotels, not only do the islands look pretty similar, but they attract the same type of client too.
Take a closer look, though, and you’ll find differences that are worth noting. Choose the right one for your client and you could turn a simple holiday into a dream come true and win a repeat customer in the process. Do you know which set of islands is best for diving? Where families should head? Which ones honeymooners should choose? Take a look at our South Pacific round-up to discover the different islands’ treasures.
Key selling points: with a raw, untamed landscape, Papua New Guinea has snow-capped mountains, jagged limestone, moss forest, mud swamps and varied wildlife. Visitors can go muck diving – plunging into murky waters to view stingrays, cuttlefish and seahorses; visit the Huli tribes where pigs are still a mode of currency; or go jungle walking into deep ravines and waterfalls.
Best for: adventurous and individual travellers.
Fly to: Wapenamanda via Tokyo or Singapore.
Sample product: Exodus has a new 17-day Papua New Guinea Paradise tour from £3,995 per person twin-share in October including flights, transfers, eight nights in a lodge, three nights in a resort and two nights in a four-star hotel, most meals and all tours.
Key selling points: New Caledonia has the second and third longest barrier reefs in the world, making it an excellent choice for snorkelling and diving. Befitting a French colony, it also has the best designer shops in the South Pacific. The mountainous island of Grande Terre has rich deposits of nickel, while the capital, Noumea has been described as the Paris of the Pacific, with modern hotels, shops, casinos and French restaurants. New Caledonia is also renowned for windsurfing. Direct clients to the Isle of Pines for pristine beaches.
Best for: divers, young couples and families.
Fly to: Noumea via Tokyo or Los Angeles.
Sample product: Transpacific Holidays offers two weeks from £2,199 per person twin-share including flights, transfers, six nights’ four-star accommodation in Noumea and six nights’ four-star accommodation in the Isle of Pines in April.
Key selling points: Fiji is great for diving. Other activities include surfing, windsurfing and yachting. The Matikimbals track in the Viti Levu rainforest is good for hiking. Head to Taveuni for dormant volcanoes, or Suva on Nadi for modern hotels and opportunities to observe local culture. Those in search of solitude may want to steer clear of the Yasawas, which are popular with backpackers. Fiji is well equipped for both wedding ceremonies and the honeymoons.
Best for: young clients, honeymooners, adventure travellers and families.
Fly to: Nadi via Los Angeles.
Sample product: Virgin Holidays offers 14 nights from £1,899 per person twin-share at the four-star Outrigger on the Lagoon on Viti Levu in April, including flights.
Key selling points: popular as a stop-off point to and from New Zealand, the Cook Islands attract young travellers after some fun in the sun. The sparkling beaches of Rarotonga and Aitutaki are most people’s first port of call, with comfortable hotels and excellent snorkelling. Clients should head to the northern group of atolls, beyond Aitutaki, for more seclusion. The dramatic mountains on several of the islands make for great hiking and picture-postcard scenery, while horseriding trips along the beach are popular with adventurous holidaymakers.
Best for: individual and adventurous travellers, younger clients and backpackers.
Fly to: Rarotonga via Los Angeles.
Sample product: Audley Travel offers two weeks from £2,585 per person twin-share including flights, transfers, four-star accommodation and breakfast in June.
Key selling points: tropical rainforests, remote waterfalls and deserted white and black sandy beaches, Tahiti and her islands are all about relaxation. Clients should head to Bora Bora for the famous lagoons; sail to the remote coral atolls of the Tuamotu Islands and visit villages where locals craftworks use coconuts. Those in search of real tranquillity should head to the remote Marquesas Islands in the north or the Austral Islands in the south; both with dramatic coastal scenery.
Best for: honeymooners, families and those seeking relaxation.
Fly to: Papeete via Los Angeles.
Sample product: Turquoise Holidays offers a 13-night package taking in Moorea Island, Vahine Island and Tahiti from £2,360 per person twin-share including flights, transfers and five-star accommodation in April.
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