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Historic Tourism Day: Chinese Here

Pioneering tourism leader Rosie Holidays, of Nadi, and managing director Tony Whitton were praised last night on a historic Fijian tourism day. Rosie’s first chartered planeload of 260 tourists from
15 Feb 2015 10:22
Historic Tourism Day: Chinese Here
From Left: Zhu Huiwan, Minister for Tourism Faiyaz Koya, Chen Fuxin with daughter Chen Ying and Rosie Holiday managing director Tony Whitton during the arrival at the Nadi International Airport, yesterday. Photo: Varanisese Nasilasila

Pioneering tourism leader Rosie Holidays, of Nadi, and managing director Tony Whitton were praised last night on a historic Fijian tourism day.

Rosie’s first chartered planeload of 260 tourists from China landed at Nadi after a 10-hour flight from Pudong International Airport, Shanghai.

Fiji Airways flight FJ396 was not only the first such charter flight. The Airbus A330, displaying the national airline’s distinctive Fijian livery, was also the airline’s first service from mainland China.

Tourism Minister Faiyaz Koya was among those at Nadi International Airport to mark this breakthrough and provide a warm Fijian welcome.

INNOVATIVE

Mr Koya said the Fijian Government commends Rosie Holidays for being innovative and thinking outside of the box.

He added: “This is a very bold initiative from a local Fijian company, the fruits of a collaboration between the private sector, Fiji Airways, and Tourism Fiji.”

Mr Koya said the Chinese New Year charter flights put together by Rosie Holidays would provide more than 500 extra visitors. As well they open up such charter flight opportunities.

“This is a welcomed initiative,” he said. “Especially when other international destinations are also investing in securing a portion of the Chinese market.”

The flight marked an important milestone in Fijian tourism history.

He said: “I warmly welcome to Fiji all the visitors travelling on this flight and trust they will enjoy the warmth of our Fijian people, our beautiful country, pristine oceans and living culture.

“I also hope that they will have an opportunity to visit our Fijian villages, enjoy some of our amazing activities and

also interact with a strong and vibrant 4th generation Chinese community who still actively practise their culture and cuisine.”

LOW SEASON

Mr Whitton said the two charters this month were planned to coincide with Chinese New Year holidays. As well they inject some business into what is traditionally Fijian tourism’s low season.

With one in 10 international tourists worldwide now Chinese, Mr Whitton said it was crucial that Fijian tourism gets its foot into this huge source market.

He added: “These charter flights are important for Fiji for three reasons. More jobs. More foreign exchange earnings. And diversification, to ensure our base of tourism arrivals has a good spread.”

He said close to 80 per cent of Fiji’s visitor arrivals come from three markets:  Australia, New Zealand, and North America.

“These markets are important and absolutely critical for Fiji,” he said. “But it’s also important for Fiji to invest not only in these traditional markets, but also find new emerging markets like China.

“China has grown from 18,000 visitors in 2010 to 28,000 in four years.

“We are confident that in 2015 it will break over 30,000, representing 5 per cent of our total visitors into Fiji.

“We believe that there’s still tremendous growth opportunities in the China market. In the Maldives for example a competitor to Fiji with eight hours flying time, China is over 30 per cent of their total visitor arrivals.”

ROSIE OFFICES

A Rosie Holidays statement said the company’s charter flights from Shanghai were spearheaded by general manager Eroni Puamau. He was assisted by Rosie’s sales offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, as well as Rosie’s six key wholesaler partners in China.

“This has been a challenging but learning experience leading up to the commencement of the charter flights especially when dealing with Chinese Government civil aviation requirements,” said Mr Puamau.

“But the good news is that 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, market places and handicraft stores.”

Mr Puamau added the Shanghai charter flights and the strong loadings this month opened up the path for Rosie Holidays to consider future charters.

These are to operate again into Shanghai but also adding another mainland China city in 2016. The goal is to deliver over 1200 additional visitors in February of next year.

FIJI AIRWAYS

Fiji Airways said it was able to free up one of its Airbus 330s for the charters into Shanghai by replacing it with Boeing 737s on scheduled flights with lower load factor.

The airline’s Executive general manager sales & marketing Otto Gergye said in the statement that the charters tied in nicely with their plans to study new destinations.

He said: “This initiative by Rosie Holidays is in line with Fiji Airways’ five-year strategic plan which includes finding new routes. As our CEO has stated, two countries that are being considered are Japan and mainland China.

“This charter flight from Shanghai today is a good test case that will help  us understand the China market better. The loadings on the flights have been encouraging.”

Passengers on this inaugural charter are spending their holidays in resorts in Denarau, the Coral Coast, the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands, Rosie Holidays said.

Another charter out of Shanghai will arrive this Saturday.

varanisese.nasilasila@fijisun.com.fj

 




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