SUNBIZ

First Rosie’s A330 Charter To Nadi From Shanghai Is Full, Second Filling Fast

The Chinese are coming to celebrate their New Year. Nadi’s Rosie Holidays will in the week ahead announce success selling seats on its pioneering charter flights Shanghai-Nadi-Shanghai over the Chinese
07 Feb 2015 10:32
First Rosie’s A330 Charter To Nadi From Shanghai Is Full, Second Filling Fast
Rosie Holidays general manager Eroni Puamau (right) at the launch of their charter flights from Shanghai, China to Nadi.

The Chinese are coming to celebrate their New Year. Nadi’s Rosie Holidays will in the week ahead announce success selling seats on its pioneering charter flights Shanghai-Nadi-Shanghai over the Chinese New Year holidays.

For 10 years, Rosie Holidays has had offices in China and has undertaken strong marketing for Fiji as a destination.

They now operate a total of three offices in the major cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou selling Fijian holidays via the Fiji Airways services to Nadi from Hong Kong.

Now, in what will be a milestone for Fijian tourism, the company is taking an unprecedented step in creating awareness of the destination by using one of Fiji Airways new three Airbus A330-200 aircraft and its crew.

It will operate two charter flights departing from Shanghai on Saturday February 14 and 21, with the return flight a week later.

 

7-DAY PACKAGES

Seven-night Fijian holiday packages are being marketed and booked via Rosie Holidays key tour wholesale partners in China online or via travel agents.

Chinese New Year falls on February 19 and is a very important date for Chinese citizens and the opportunity to be the first in the world to enter the New Year (because of the international dateline) is an attractive benefit.

The concept of spending Valentine’s Day in an exotic location was also used to target young couples on the inaugural flight.

Sales uptake has been excellent with the first flight fully sold at 265 passengers and the second will be sold. It currently stands at 215, but the Chinese are notoriously late bookers.

Rosie had to overcome a number of difficulties along the way in getting the charters airborne.

There were issues with getting a time slot in Shanghai, with several changes to the departure time over the last few weeks. Originally the departure was to be 2am but finally ended up at 5am.

Because the flights were not scheduled operations and the airline was a small operator by Chinese standards, changes were made to accommodate the very high demand for Shanghai slots.

These changes put the Rosie reservations staff under pressure, ensuring that all passengers were advised of the changes.

Rosie Holidays general manager Eroni Puamau said: “We have invested many hours in this project, talking to regulators, finalising the lease with Fiji Airways, coordinating a Marketing Plan with Tourism Fiji and our China partners, negotiating good land package deals with Resorts in Fiji.

“We experienced delays in obtaining the final China Charter License from CAA that caused bit of sleepless nights.

“You have to realise that the time slots we wanted, we were also competing with other big scheduled carriers and charter operations.

“And here was one A330 plane from a remote island nation in the South Pacific, knocking on their door saying ‘we want a gate please’. But the good news is we got there. The planes are coming.”

 

PROUD MOMENT

The Managing Director of Rosie Holidays Tony Whit ton commented: “This is a proud moment for Fiji Tourism.

“Our national airline proudly carrying our wonderful Tapa design into the heart of a major international city in mainland China, and on its wings, the hopes of our island nation.

“More jobs, more foreign exchange earnings and the tourism dollar circulating to more people.

“We will be watching our skies over Nadi attentively as the Fiji Airways Airbus A330 departs this coming Friday at about 7pm for its ferry flight into Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

“It will return with over 250 new visitors who would never have come if a few people like Eroni and his team in China, Fiji Airways and Tourism Fiji, didn’t have the vision to try something new and innovative for Fiji Tourism.

“Like all things that make a difference, it carried a lot of risk for us.

“But the good news is, the planes are on their way, full of new visitors, who will want to spend money in our hotels, experience our tours, meet our people, visit our villages and market places and handicraft shops.”

 

EXTRA STAFF

To cope with the large influx of Chinese visitors, Rosie Holidays has contracted an extra 14 tour directors from China and Fiji.

These coordinators will oversee large group movements and provide file management and Mandarin language services and will supplement the current Chinese speaking staff in Fiji.

China is the world’s largest outbound tourist market, with 100million citizens leaving the country in 2014 and as amazing as this figure is the forecast is that total departures will rise to 200 million by 2020.

This is why the rest of the world is actively seeking to increase their opportunities in the China market.

For Fiji, a market share of 0.25% of the China market would make China Fiji’s largest source market.

Last week Australia completed an Air service Agreement which gives 4000 additional seats out of the major Australian airports to the China airports of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, effective immediately.

The agreement also allows for an additional 7000 seats weekly to be phased in over the next two years and added unlimited capacity for flights to Cairns, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Darwin.

The government statement said that “tripling aviation capacity from China into Australia over the next two years will ensure that we are well placed to capture this growth”.

China is a critical tourist market for Australia, with 800,000 tourists worth AU$5 billion (FJ$7.9 billion) in 2014.

Tourism Australia is very active in China. The Chinese tourist is generally quite affluent and tourism income per passenger is very good.

Fiji has had an increasing but very small market out of China for a number of years but there is growth every year.

The limiting factor is that there is no direct flight to mainland China, only from Hong Kong. Fiji Airways operate a three flights a week return to Hong Kong with the Airbus A330.

The Hong Kong service carries Chinese as well as large numbers of other passengers from UK and Europe who transit Hong Kong as partners of the One World Cathay Pacific/Fiji Airways alliance.

 

AWARENESS

The awareness of Fiji as a destination amongst the Chinese is very low especially in these new “northern cities” of Shanghai and Beijing.

The lack of knowledge also leads the consumer to purchase known brands like Shangri-la, Sheraton, Sofitel and InterContinental so the bulk of the bookings are going to the Coral Coast and Denarau where the international brands operate.

Rosie believes that, with sufficient promotion in partnership with Tourism Fiji , the Chinese tourism dollar can be spread widely in the industry in Fiji.

Rosie is convinced there is a significant opportunity to sell Fiji to the Chinese tourist.

But that there needs to be a continued effort by Rosie Holidays, Tourism Fiji, Fiji Airways, Resort partners, and the other operators.

Also communication needs to create good awareness of the uniqueness of the Fijian product on the big islands but also other smaller resorts in the Yasawas , the North and Mamanuca.

This will be part of the 2015 strategy with a Road Show scheduled for China later this year.

Shanghai is also a prime target in the Fiji Airways five year plan; along with Tokyo and if scheduled Shanghai to Nadi flights are part of the network in the future, the growth can be expected to be significant.

Over the last five years the market has grown steadily with a slight dip from the effects of Cyclone Evan.

Rosie say they will operate the charters again next year and maybe consider other departure locations in China.

They believe that Shanghai will be the major source market for Fiji in the future.

The Chinese are working to make Shanghai the financial capital of the country (and decreasing the focus on Hong Kong) and the large population will have significant discretionary spending capability.

Feedback: rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 

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