A New Year’s Eve party to remember

By Iliesa Tora The country and the world farewelled 2011 last Saturday night. As the clock struck midnight we all welcomed 2012. Now, an experienced member of the local tourism
08 Jan 2012 10:59

Bula 2012...the special Outrigger welcome. Photo: ILIESA TORA

By Iliesa Tora

The country and the world farewelled 2011 last Saturday night. As the clock struck midnight we all welcomed 2012.
Now, an experienced member of the local tourism industry says we can sell Fiji as the best place to be on New Year’s Eve.
Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji’s public relations manager Una Murray, no stranger in the local tourism industry, believes Fiji can be the place to be to farewell the year that was and welcome the new 12 months.
She spoke to Iliesa Tora about the issue as she and the Outrigger put on
“an experience to remember”
for 400 guests on New Year’s Eve.


An experienced member of the local tourism industry says Fiji can become the best place to be on New Year’s Eve if all players in the industry plan and package their deals well.
Una Murray, the public relations manager at the Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji resort, said selling Fiji as a place to welcome the New Year in would be beneficial for the country “but we need to have exciting programmes for tourists all the time when they come in.”
“Fiji is at an advantage because the International Dateline cuts across the Northern tip of the island, which makes us the first country to see the new dawn,” she said.
“If we all plan it right and package that well we will be able to maximise the advantage for the industry and Fiji.”
The Outrigger resort certainly put on a programme that had guests “hooked on” for the night last Saturday as they farewelled 2011 and welcomed 2012 in style.
‘Egyptians’ invaded the Sundowner Bar at the Korotogo resort on New Year’s eve.
Down the other end at the Ivi Tree and the Vale ni Kana restaurants guests were enjoying sumptuous meals with choices of wine to go with it.
In between there were live performances by the Polynesian Dance Group to keep them entertained.
It was New Year’s Eve – the night when the year that was turned into the New Year.
The Outrigger, like most of the other major resorts and hotels around the country, planned something unique and different for their guests.
Close to 400 guests joined the hotel management and staff in counting down to 12 midnight and then welcoming the new year.
It was a night with a difference.
“We planned something different this year as we always wanted guests to come in and enjoy a unique experience on New Year’s Eve,” Ms Murray said.
“The programme included having something different at the four restaurants with different themes plus a programme for children where they enjoyed the evening by themselves.
“We had live entertainment with bands playing at three different venues and the main programme happening at the Sundowner Bar, where Egyptians became the focus of the night with guests and management staff dressing up as Egyptians of the Nile.”
As the minutes and seconds ticked away, the excitement intensified.
When the lali sounded from the beachfront three sailors out at sea suddenly lit up bamboo torches and started dashing towards the beach.
About 20 metres out they stopped and appeared to start lighting up a tall structure out at sea.
And as the flames started rising into the dark night, it started forming the words ‘BULA 2012’.
When the clock struck midnight the welcoming sign turned the darkness into a show of light as fireworks erupted.
Guests shouted “Happy New Year” and the beach party started. The music got everyone into the swing and the new year was truly here.
Former national rugby rep Kini Sarai, who had put the programme together with other staff, said it was something with a difference.
“We wanted to get out guests to taste something different this time around,” he said.
“There were close to 400 guests here and they enjoyed every minute of it. The whole purpose of the programme for that night was to have guests enjoy themselves in the last hours and minutes of 2011 and into the new hours of 2012.
“We believe it was a successful night with a difference and guests enjoyed it thoroughly.”
Ms Murray believes selling Fiji as the place to be to welcome the new year should be part of the package given to interested visitors from abroad.
“Here at the Outrigger we have already started doing that,” she said.
“And we have had our fair share of successes. Tourists are coming in to enjoy that experience with us.”
She said other major resorts on the Coral Coast like The Naviti Resort, The Warwick Fiji Resort and Spa and Shangri-La Fijian Resort and Spa had also been active in organising their own New Year’s Eve programmes, where the focus has been on guests and giving them a memorable experience to remember.
“And I am sure if we all pitch in to make that celebration something to remember for tourists they will continue to come in numbers to enjoy saying farewell to the old year and welcoming the new one,” she said.
That’s food for thought for the next 12 months – with eight days already gone in the new year.


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