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Australia plans to create world’s next two big marine parks

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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The Australian Government has announced plans to establish two new marine parks around Australia’s spectacular Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands!

These will be the world’s next big marine parks, providing crucial protection to globally significant marine life in an area twice the size of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are uniquely Australian and globally significant – there’s nowhere like them on Earth.

Most famous for its annual red crab migration, Christmas Island is one of David Attenborough’s 10 natural wonders of the world. Its thriving rainforests, deserted beaches and fringing reef provide a haven for unique and rare seabirds, land crabs and marine life.

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are Australia’s best-kept secret – our unspoiled tropical island paradise! Sitting at the top of an ancient sea mountain encircling a beautiful tropical lagoon, their azure waters are home to an incredible array of diverse marine life including tropical fish, corals, turtles, manta rays and dolphins.

Located thousands of kilometres north-west from Perth, in the vast Indian Ocean, there are few comparable unspoiled tropical island environments left in the world.

Creating world-class marine parks will provide crucial protection for a wealth of marine life, make a significant global contribution to the health of our oceans, and bring much-needed benefits to the people of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

It’s essential that the government embraces and respects the aspirations of the island communities, working collaboratively with them to co-design these marine parks. Healthy oceans and sustainable fishing are central to the local communities’ way of life, their culture and their livelihoods.

Help Save Our Marine Life Australia grow the movement to support these new marine parks for Christmas and Cocos – Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories – by spreading the word on Facebook.

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Tourism Fiji celebrates Open for Happiness Campaign (Watch Trailer)

Pacific DTA Team

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As international borders reopen to the world this week, Tourism Fiji launched the first video piece in it’s Open for Happiness campaign. The team celebrated this at an event at Wyndham Resort Denarau Island, where they unveiled some of the content to crew who worked on the production as well as tourism stakeholders.

Tourism Fiji is delighted to partner with award-winning actress, comedian and producer, Rebel Wilson, the new Ambassador of our global reopening campaign.

Ms. Wilson has fond memories of visiting Fiji as a child and returned to share her love of a destination that offers so much to visitors and is largely vaccinated.

She was joined by a talented pool of Fijian cast and crew to shoot Tourism Fiji’s Open for Happiness campaign in the Mamanuca Islands, where she also sampled a range of experiences.

“Rebel is a talented actress and demonstrates a unique ability to bring her own style of heartfelt humour to the ad that Tourism Fiji is creating,” said Brent Hill, CEO of Tourism Fiji.

“We’re delighted to have her as an ambassador who resonates with Fiji and our key tourist markets; Australia, North America, New Zealand and Europe.”

Rebel hiked, did yoga, stand up paddleboarding, scenic helicopter tour, spa treatment, cocktails and visited a popular sandbar.  She was seen stepping out in some local designer wear from Samson Lee and Zuber and enjoyed the hospitality of Vomo Island Fiji.

Her destination highlights of Fiji were shared with her fanbase, including 10.3 million followers on social media platform Instagram, and helped amplify Fiji’s allure as a holiday destination that has now safely reopened to international travellers on December 1st.

Filmed in Fiji over the course of last month, the campaign is the result of the collaborative work of several local partners including activity providers, talented singers, entertainers, videographers, local actors, and extras on set.

“This campaign would not have been possible without the support of our industry stakeholders, and we’re pleased to showcase a global star such as Rebel and the talent of local cast and crew,” said Brent Hill, CEO of Tourism Fiji.

Rebel also enjoyed a sunset cruise featuring a live performance by talented local artist, Apakuki “Kuki” Nalawa and shared snippets across her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels.

“With all that’s happened over the last two years, tourism has been badly affected and the entertainment industry has been hit hard by this as well, – the live performance was an eye-opener, a breath of fresh air and gave us all hope that things will get better,” Mr Nalawa said.

“It’s so encouraging to witness a Hollywood actress and her media team enjoying not only the beauty that our country has to offer but also recognising the level of talent we have.”

Tourism Fiji’s Open for Happiness campaign with Rebel will be used into 2022. Further video clips will launch over the coming weeks.

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Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers named #1 Value Resort

Pacific DTA Team

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Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers has been voted the #1 resort in the Pacific/Indian Ocean region in the value-for-money category in Scuba Diving magazine’s annual readers’ poll of the best destinations, dive resorts, dive operators and liveaboard vessels.

To give “a better idea of consistent winners regardless of recent travel restrictions,” the 29-year-old publication averaged the scores from the 2020, 2021 and 2022 surveys to arrive at the current results to inspire divers “to get back in the water and visit someplace new.”

Located on the island of Yap in the western Pacific Ocean, the small, family-owned luxury resort was also named among the top ten in eight additional categories including Best Overall Dive Operators, Quality of Dive Shop Facilities, Quality of Dive Staff, Attention to Safety within Dive Operations, Best Overall Resorts, Quality of the Resort, Quality of the Rooms and Quality of the Restaurant.

Throughout our 35-year history we’ve been given multiple awards, but this year’s recognition is a welcome shot in the arm,” said the resort’s owner, Bill Acker. “This year’s results combining three consecutive years of surveying show that, together with our staff, my family and I manage to give our guests the experience, service and value they expect and are looking for,” Bill added.

We were one of the first islands to close the borders and may be the last to reopen, but we’ll be back stronger and better than before,” said Patricia Acker, Bill’s wife and cofounder.

Reef Sharks by David Fleetham

Operating since 1986 and serving only 1,000 divers a year, Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers is Micronesia’s only premier dive resort offering guests crowd-free dive sites, VIP service, spa treatments, award-winning micro-brewed beer, and a unique dining experience aboard their 120-year-old Schooner, The S/V Mnuw.

Go to Scuba Diving Magazine or #scubadivingmagazine for details of this year’s Best of Readers Choice Awards.  For more information about Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers, visit www.mantaray.com or #mantaraybay.

Header image: Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers by Tim Rock

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