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Editorial: Fiji International Here To Stay It Will Grow Bigger

Editorial: Fiji International Here To Stay It Will Grow Bigger
August 16
11:00 2017

The fourth edition of the Fiji International tees off at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course tomorrow.

The tournament has gained momentum over the years and for 2017 it’s being dubbed as bigger and better.

The FijiFirst Government has been behind this initiative right from the beginning because it envisioned the importance of raising the profile of our nation by staging such a world sporting event, which in turn will boost our tourism sector and bring in big financial gains to our economy.

The country’s biggest newspaper, Fiji Sun, shares the same vision as a Pro-Fiji advocate. As the official media partner of the Fiji International, right from the first day, it sees this tournament as a way forward for Fiji and for all Fijians.

Sadly, some don’t see it that way. This is because of their short-sightedness or lack of understanding of the positive multiplier impact of an international golf tournament.

Measures have been taken to try to shed some light on how it works. Some have understood the concept while there are others who have stubbornly refused to accept the facts.

Acting Prime Minister and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the Fiji International can propel the whole golfing segment of tourism to greater heights. Tourism is the largest contributor towards our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says there is a need to improve the different segmentation that we see and find other avenues to promote tourism in the country.

Last year, coverage of the tournament was broadcasted across 46 countries with millions of viewers.  For this year, the Fiji International is living up to its name with 132 players in the field representing 20 nations.

The chief executive officer of Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of Australia, which oversees the International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS) HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, Gavin Kirkman, says the Fiji International has fast become a favourite tournament for players and staff alike.

“A ball has not yet been hit in the 2017 Fiji International and already it is shaping up to be one of the best editions,” he said.

Mr Kirkman says the Fiji International field this year has an incredible depth of talent;

  • Vijay Singh, Jeunghun Wang, Ryan Fox and Scott Hend have all joined us after competing in the year’s final Major last week.
  • There will also be six Olympians in the field who represented Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Bangladesh, Korea and Malaysia.
  • The most pertinent indicator of the talent assembled in Fiji, this year is the fact that in the field they are 85 players who have recorded victories on Tours around the world.

Mr Kirkman says a tournament the scale of the Fiji International requires a collaborative effort from many different stakeholders including:

  • 61 tournament officials from Australia, Singapore and Europe
  • 56 TV crew from all over the world
  • 51 international volunteers
  • 150 local volunteers including 60 students from the Fiji National University
  • 23 international media from USA, England, Sweden, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand

After three years of hosting the Fiji International, our islands have earned an outstanding international reputation as a premier golfing destination.

We’ve come a long way. There’s no turning back as the Fiji International is here to stay.

LEONE CABENATABUA

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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