Travel News


Written By : PETER LOMAS. Bula Fiji Tourism Exchange (BFTE) chairman David Voss has been breaking new ground again. The Hertz Rent A Car Fiji managing director and his BFTE
15 May 2010 12:00

image Written By : PETER LOMAS. Bula Fiji Tourism Exchange (BFTE) chairman David Voss has been breaking new ground again.
The Hertz Rent A Car Fiji managing director and his BFTE colleagues have transformed an empty field next to Nadi’s Port Denarau complex. This week it becomes the bustling and cheerful home of the region’s biggest travel mart.
The BFTE Talanoa Village has risen where long grass once grew. It’s a stand-alone facility as Mr Voss, founder and driving force of BFTE, continues to innovate.
Previously BFTE was held in one of the big resort complexes.
This week will be different. Mr Voss and his committee have found new ways as they work to keep costs down and attendance up.
New friends too.
The Hard Rock Café, Chefs and Indigo restaurants next door in the Port Denarau shopping and entertainment complex will cater for lunches and morning and afternoon teas.
Host hotel, where many participants will stay, is the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa up the road further into Denarau.
Evening social events will be held at the BFTE Talanoa Village, at the Hard Rock Café and at the Sofitel, in the ballroom and poolside and beachside.
There is now a buzz in the air as hundreds of delegates from Fiji and around the world begin to arrive. They are preparing for Wednesday’s opening of the three-day event.
Some associated activities are already underway. There’s always a swarm of other things timed around the annual BFTE, especially hospitality for the visitors.
What is BFTE all about? It brings together in one place those selling travel into the region, such as outbound tour companies, with those offering services, such as resorts. They negotiate prices and contracts for the year ahead.
All of them in the one place at the one time means lots of business gets done. Also socialising and hospitality.
Mr Voss says: “The Pacific Region is an exciting tourism destination and BFTE is organised … to conduct business efficiently and effectively and to promote tourism within our region.
“We have brought together buyers from around the world to meet sellers from Fiji and the Pacific Islands to discuss business and hopefully increase tourist arrivals in the region.
“The new Air Pacific route to Hong Kong has opened up new markets to assist in growing the tourism market within the Pacific Basin plus opens up Europe with their code share with Cathay Pacific. Exciting times ahead.”
It’s reflected in the more than one hundred buyer companies and organisations from around the world who are coming to take part. The good news for Fiji is they include a growing presence by tourism wholesalers and outbound tourism operators from China.
Eight are coming.
It reflects the growing interest in Fiji in particular by this potentially vast market. The Air Pacific/Cathay Pacific Airways connection via Hong Kong and the marketing of Fiji in China by Tourism Fiji and others are paying dividends.
The Chinese lineup is impressive. Coming are:
China Environment International Travel Service: This Beijing-based company is one of the top 10 Chinese agencies for the Australian and New Zealand markets.
China International Travel Service: Based in Zhongshan, it has 20 sales branches in other cities and towns. It is rated one of the top 100 international travel services in China.
Concorde Travel: Specialises in high-end, tailor-made itineraries and is already working with Fiji tour operators.
China Palace International Travel Service: This company sent about 200 groups to Korea last year.
Hua Yuan International Travel Company Shen Yang branch: An e-commerce company with outbound travel its core business.
Hua Yuan International Travel Company Dragon Tours: Already sending travellers to Europe, Australia, Africa, the Americas and Asia. Now it is eyeing Fiji.
Shanghai New Comfort International Travel: A significant operator from Shanghai, China’s biggest city (population 20 million).
Top Tour International Travel Service: One of China’s earliest outbound tourism wholesalers. It sends about 10,000 tourists aboard each year.
Alongside the participants from regular markets like Australia, Canada Europe, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and United States of America, there are also other interesting indicators.
They include the presence of an award-winning wholesaler from the United Arab Emirates and another from Brazil.
The participation in BFTE 2010 is already a success. Don’t be surprised if the new site at Port Denarau is too. Mr Voss has a proven record of being a tourism visionary.
When he first proposed the launching of BFTE as what became a purely private sector-driven and self-funding initiative he faced many local sceptics. They said it would not work. They were soon won over by its success.
When Mr Voss later proposed to expand BFTE from a pure Fiji travel mart into a regional one, there more critics and sceptics. Now BFTE is by far the biggest event of its kind in the region. Everyone is benefiting.
This week is the 15th BFTE travel mart. Mr Voss and his organising committee and sponsors are making sure it is another success. Mr Voss wouldn’t have it any other way.

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