From 14 to 20 August, New Caledonia Tourism had a visit from one of the largest international travel companies, the Australian tour operator World Expedition, who came to try out the trekking opportunities on offer.
On the recommendation of local operator Toutazimut, New Caledonia Tourism.South and North Province Tourism invited Gesine Cheung, Operations Manager for the Australian Tour Operator World Expeditions, specialist in trekking and adventure trips throughout six continents.
As New Caledonia doesn’t yet feature in the World Expedition programme, the TO came here from 14-20 August to try out the tourist activities on offer. Having already visited the Deep South, Gesine Cheung, guided by Toutazimut, focused her attention on Noumea (its activities, bays and hotels) and adventure activities in the North.
In Noumea, she met with those hotels matching her core target market, namely Le Beau Rivage, Le Lagon and Nouvata Parc hotels. She also took the opportunity to try out a kayak excursion in the Deep South with H2O Odyssée.
In association with North Province Tourism, Gesine Cheung visited Tchamba village, departure point for the renowned GR Pombeï – Tiwae walking track in the north. During her trek, she was able to experience tribal accommodation in the Saint Thomas, Pombeï and Tiwae villages. The organisation of this trek in the north was to enable the TO to meet its requirements in terms of adventure tourism.
Interview with Gesine Cheung
« We’ll highlight the track, but above all the welcome in the tribes […]Delicious local dishes and magnificent sites. »
1. Could you tell our readers about World Expedition ?
World Expedition is an Australian Tour Operator which has specialised in adventure tourism since 1975. We are mainly focused on trekking, cycling and kayak activities, however we also offer cultural trips. Our core target market is the over-40s traveller. We also target school groups and travellers who enjoy themed group travel. We have a world-wide presence, in order to reply to demand, principally from our Australian, New Zealand, American, Canadian and European clients.
2. What image of New Caledonia did you have before your visit ?
I did know Nouméa already, as I’d visited with my high school for French lessons and also with my parents on a cruise, however this time I rediscovered the country through the eyes of its Caledonian and Kanak culture, which is so much more interesting.
3. And now, what do you think of the destination ?
It’s a destination which is well-suited for trekking ; The GR North trek proved more challenging than I thought, but I’m delighted to have been able to do it, so that I can describe it in detail to our clients. And I never thought that there would be as many different outdoor activities as there are in New Caledonia.
4. Following your visit, which areas would you highlight for your clients ?
World Expedition is looking forward to including the GR North trek in our New Caledonia offers. This track is a good product and of great interest from a cultural and a sports point of view, both for our theme trip travellers (flora and fauna) and our adventure travellers. We’ll not only highlight the trail but also, and above all, the welcome and accommodation in the tribes, much appreciated at the end of a long day of walking. The huts are well adapted despite the small size : comfortable mattresses, acceptable bathroom facilities, delicious local dishes and magnificent sites.