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The Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Closed for Renovations

The Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji in Savusavu is closed for renovations. In light of COVID-19, there has been a big push for supporting Tourism Fiji’s Love Our Locals. But the
20 Sep 2020 09:52
The Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Closed for Renovations
An aerial view of Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Resort in Savusavu

The Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji in Savusavu is closed for renovations.

In light of COVID-19, there has been a big push for supporting Tourism Fiji’s Love Our Locals. But the Savusavu resort general manager Bart Simpson said they cannot afford to open their property when they can use this downtime to renovate their five star property.

“There’s been a big push for hospitality for hotels to open to locals.But in terms of marketing, we’ve been open for 25 years as an international five star resort and the market will pay what it perceives the value is right.

He says he was not trying to be rude or whatsoever, but perception forms price.

“Price also helps to form perception. We can’t lower our rates and start to do a completely different product to locals.

“It’s just out of the question. We can’t do that. “We’ve been brand building for 25 years.

“And as soon as we do that, we just erode all of our brand equity which is worth a lot of money to this company. And as soon as we do that, we employ 25 per cent of the staff that we do now.

“In fact, while we’re closed, we’re actually employing more people, just to maintain this place, then other resorts that have the same size, that are open to locals.

“So, our payroll is higher then the other resort with the same amount of bed while we are closed.”

He stated that in every part of the world, there would always be a section of the market and a place for international tourism.

“If we are open to locals, if we reduce our product and erode our brand, all that’s going to happen in the long run is people are going to have less jobs on the clock when we’re open.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to get through to people.

He says the good news was that this company was not going to close, we’re determined to stay open.

“It’s just a speed bump on the road that we need to get get across and we will get over it. When we’re open we will hire 180 staff, and at the moment we’re employing about 30 or 40 staff, as it is while we’re closed.

“We’ve taken the time to renovate.

“We’ve replaced, a lot of the thatching on our bures.”

The Jean-Michel Cousteau owned resort structure is supposed to emulate a Fijian village. Mr Cousteau is a world renowned environmentalist.

With 25 luxurious bures:, Mr Simpson says: “We pay, honour and respect to the Fijian culture, the marine environment and nature.

“We’re really geared up for the international market and that’s why we’re not open now.

“We can’t unless we close rebrand and reopen to something a lot more downmarket, we can’t compete with at this time.

“Alot of people will say, well you’re snobby, you can open to locals.

“It’s not that it’s just because they don’t understand the mechanics of the sales and marketing business.

“During this time while we’ve been closed, we have employed staff in areas that would not be their usual scope of work.

“We’ve actually extended with a 10 acre farm.

“It’s a holistic product. It’s an eco resort, we look after the natural environment and the people.”

The resort has also been engaged in corporate social responsibility projects with some village communities in Savusavu.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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