BY BEN BILUA
WANT to hide away with your family during holidays?
Epanga Island Resort is the perfect place and the best choice.
Epanga Island Resort is less than 10 minutes boat ride from Gizo. You can enjoy the view overlooking Kolombangara, more importantly the popular John F Kennedy Island.
The resort has four accommodations, all of which are designed for both single persons and families. There is also a conference room that can accommodate up to fifty participants.
It has a bar and huts where guests can wind down their evening while watching boats cruising by, birds dancing around schools of fish and the sun slowly disappearing on the horizon.
A built-in timber jetty close to the huts is a perfect spot for children to enjoy themselves jumping to the sea with parents’ supervision.
Hospitality is not an issue. The owner is Austin Beto and his family have the expertise to treat visiting guests with absolute generosity.
According to Beto, Epanga is also part of the government travel bubble known as the “Umi Holiday Package” but only few guests have enjoyed their time at the resort.
“We received less than five guests coming to our resort under the Umi Holiday initiative and they enjoyed their time here.
“One family in particular came back for the second time here and I think they really like it here,” he said.
Being part of the Umi Holiday initiative was not that impactful for Epanga Resort, but that doesn’t matter.
Local guests always stormed the resort nearly every week enjoying themselves with cool beers before heading to their respective destinations.
“The bar and the leaf huts are two important assets that I have at the moment,” said Beto.
“Boats pull up at our jetty every week with guests trying to enjoy few beers in our huts. Our guests are top priority so we open the bar anytime when guests request to do so,” he added.
Beto said Epanga Island Resort has come a long way and is slowly developing into a perfect environment that would add value to services.
He said the future plan includes setting up a snooker table, dart and another bar for people who are interested in playing the games while enjoying their evening.
“I want to accomplish many things but I don’t have the fund to do so. It is pain taking to see the pace of development on my resort but I accept the fact that I’m not financially capable to do all I want one time. I hope and pray that one day my vision will come to fruitful,” Beto said.
Like any other tourism operators in Solomon Islands, Epanga is not immune to the economic impact of COVID-19.
Beto said everything has been slow and I understand what he (Beto) meant was, that the income was low, low turnover of visitors due to border restrictions and overall the incapability of the country’s economy to assist private sectors.
At 80 years of age, soft spoken Beto is still hoping the situation will return to normal soon so that business will be good again.