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Hopgood Calls It a Day

Hopgood Calls It a Day
Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort general manager Peter Hopgood. Photo: Waisea Nasokia
April 26
12:20 2018

 

Fiji will soon lose one of its tourism stal­warts and a pioneer of modern Fijian tourism, Peter Hopgood.

Mr Hopgood, the Outrigger Fiji Beach Re­sort general manager, will call it a day on July 16, this year after eight years and tak­ing this five star property to being one of the country’s most renowned holiday destina­tions.

Over the past 24 years Mr Hopgood has been general manager of eight resorts and hotels including the luxury, heritage listed, Grand Hotel Melbourne and the 1,000 room Hamil­ton Island Resort, Queensland.

The 60-year-old Aussie said: “I truly believe that once in everybody’s lifetime they are giv­en an opportunity to make a difference.

“I was truly blessed to be given my oppor­tunity when I accepted the role of General Manager at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort.”

Mr Hopgood and his partner Brandy ar­rived into the country on December, 10, 2009 and took up his new role on December 27.

“It was very difficult to resign as after eight and half years, your team become your fam­ily,” he said.

“Unfortunately my partner Brandy’s health is not the best and I need to go home and look after her.

“Hopefully I will still be involved in Fiji for many years to come.”

He is returning to Australia.

Experience:

After spending several months settling into his new role, they decided to take some time to look around the province to see where we could assist the community.

“It was interesting! We found that those that had the most cried the loudest for sup­port whilst those that had very little were extremely humble and appreciative of our visit.”

Over the years, Mr Hopgood scooped vari­ous local and international awards as well.

The climax was in 2015; Mr Hopgood was awarded the prestigious Tourism Leader at the ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Award.

He has scooped the Ashley Spencer Service to the Hospitality Industry Award for his tireless work on behalf of the Fijian hotel industry and in support of local Fijian com­munities.

Below is an excerpt of an interview with Mr Hopgood:

What memories will you take with you?

My memories are so many! The joy on the faces of the school children when we opened up classrooms, kindergartens, libraries and computer labs was unbelievable!

I always looked forward to my visits to the Conua School where I am known as Mr Peter.

Being given the opportunity by Mr Geoff Shaw to manage his resort and make the changes that were needed was very special. As we made these changes it allowed us to employ more people and this has made a huge difference to our community.

One of my great memories of Fiji was my recent trip on Captain Cook Cruises to the Lau group of islands.

I have never seen such natural beauty in my life – Truly a remarkable experience.

It’s the people:

Friendliest and most engaging in the world – Love the smiles!

The Government:

I truly believe that I arrived at the best time in Fiji.

I have seen so much change and all for the positive. Education, infrastructure, the econ­omy have all improved since I arrived in Fiji. What I consider to be the most important changes have been the introduction of free education in 2013 and the Democratic elec­tions in 2014.

The future really looks bright for Fiji. A lot of people just don’t appreciate how good they have it!

My only concern is the seriously high taxes that are imposed on the hospitality industry – It is really starting to have an impact on the Tourism Industry.

The staff:

As a General Manager I have been blessed with an outstanding group of staff. As with any business you get grumblings every now and then but we deal with it.

My turnover of staff over my eight and half years was less than two per cent so that is pretty good!

The various managers:

I could not have wished for a better group of managers. Most of my managers have been with me since day one. My managers are the reason for the success of Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort.

Your message to the staff/guests

To the staff I wish them good health and happiness.

If I was to look at one failure, it was that I could not convince my staff to live healthier lifestyles.

People die too young in Fiji.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

 

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