Western Province resort turns harsh environment into a destination

Jacob and Judith Kwan, owners of Aveala Resort

Situated in the high rocky cliffs of Tapatale on Vella Island in the western Solomon Islands, Aveala Resort does not boast white sandy beaches and calm seas.

But the resort, which officially opened last week, is being welcomed as a unique addition to the tourism industry in Western Province.

Tapatale is considered a very hard place to live because of its cliffs and big waves. In fact, no one lived there.

Stairs were built into rocks from the shore up to the resort

So when Jacob Kwan acquired the area from his mother and decided to build the resort in 2015, people had doubts about the idea.

But Mr Kwan found ways to work with the landscape.

“As you’ve all rightly said, it is not sandy beaches and calm seas,” Mr Kwan told guests.

“But I am proud of my boys who worked very hard with me carrying timber, bags of cement and everything else to make my dream come true.”

Looking across Rannogah Island from Aveala Resort

Aveala is surrounded by natural green forests and cliffs overlooking the island of Ranoggah. It has a cave dating back to the head-hunting days and a lake nearby.

Mr Kwan said the resort will target tourists who are keen on diving, fishing, surfing and rock climbing.

The Western Provincial Government has acknowledged Mr Kwan and his wife, Judith, for their vision.

Deputy Premier Maloney Lopoto said their resort was a milestone for the tourism industry that highlighted the couple’s creativity and talents.

“The policies of the Government can just be a piece of paper, but it is the creativity of the people like Jacob that help to bring these policies into reality,” he said.

By Kikiva Tuni 

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