SPORTS

The Nation’s Prized Event

The inaugural Fijian International, boasting a million dollar prize purse, signaled Fiji’s official arrival onto the golfing world stage. The Fijian Government, Tourism Fiji and Fiji’s number one golf ambassador,
20 Aug 2015 09:05
The Nation’s Prized Event
Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Siddiq Koya.

The inaugural Fijian International, boasting a million dollar prize purse, signaled Fiji’s official arrival onto the golfing world stage. The Fijian Government, Tourism Fiji and Fiji’s number one golf ambassador, Vijay Singh, all made a push to put their country on the lucrative world golfing map.

As the newest tournament on the PGA Tour of Australasia and OneAsia tours, the 2014 Fijian International was a resounding success.

 120 players from 16 different countries came together at the spectacular Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course to take on the challenging layout, designed by Vijay Singh, and compete in the regions first ever internationally broadcasted tournament.

 

  1. Why did Fiji choose to host and support the Fiji International?

Golf Tourism is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and it is a fact that golfers go where the golf is. Fiji’s attraction as a golf tourism destination is growing.

Through the Fiji International, we are able to broadcast and showcase Fiji to a global audience of over 400 million households in 27 countries through its strong Television platform.

This broadcast reached big golfing nations such as China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, all very important markets to Fiji.

It was therefore a goal for the Fijian Government to tap into Golf Tourism market and increase tourism dollars for the nation.

 

  1. Is golf an important market for Fiji Tourism?

One of the assets that Fiji boasts is “golf in paradise”.

Thanks to the 2014 Fiji International the message is now out there in the world that we have amazing golf courses and we have already seen an increase in the number of golfers coming to Fiji on the back of the Fiji International.

Golfers spend three times as much as the average tourist and have higher disposable incomes and the ability to travel with little planning.

Targeting this market was a strategic decision given Government’s plans to create a F$2billion tourism industry by 2020.

We are confident that the golf-tourism market will bring in more high-yielding tourists to our shores and create more growth for our economy.

The golf market also brings in more investment opportunities (from both foreign and local investors) so there are many reasons why we need to focus on golf.

 

  1. How long does the Government plan to support the Fiji International?

The Fijian Government has made a commitment to support the Fiji International until the event is fully supported through commercial sponsorship.

We have already seen many local companies step up and support the event and we welcome more to take advantage of the strong marketing platform that the Fiji International has to offer.

We are very grateful to these companies for their support. However, more companies both domestic and international can gain invaluable mileage and exposure by being part of the Fiji International through sponsorship.

 

  1. Are you happy with the achievements of the Fiji International so far?

Yes, last year the Fiji international & Fiji Tourism brands combined generated a gross media value of close to FJ$20m.

As mentioned in number 1 above, the event had a broadcast reach of over 400 million people across 27 countries.

The tournament received 462 hours of air-time of which 46 per cent of this was live coverage.

Our record numbers in visitor arrivals in 2014 of 692,630 and the first four months of 2015, 202,496 visitors, another record increase of 7.4 per cent compared for the same period in 2014, are indicators of this Government’s ability to invest in successful ventures that will bring more value for money to the Fijian people.

While the tournament has only been here for one year, we have spoken to various local tour operators who have seen immediate bookings on the back of the 2014 Fiji International.

This means that golfers of the world are now aware of Fiji as a golf destination and making their bookings to come here.

These are people that would never have had Fiji on their radar and now they do for which we see the benefits.

We are very happy to hear this news and hope that the Fiji International continues to increase golf tourism dollars for the nation.

 

  1. What strategies are in place to ensure that the Fiji International achieves good returns for tourism in Fiji?

The strategy in year one, 2014, was to establish Fiji’s first globally televised Professional Golf tournament.

We succeeded in that and achieved great returns in terms of exposure for Fiji Golf Tourism worldwide.

This year, we aim to increase the awareness campaign to international markets and increase the number of visitors not only to the event but all year round.

The focus has been to market directly to the international buyers of golf tourism.

We had attended conventions such as the Asian Golf Tourism Convention in Jakarta and the China Golf Show earlier this year and secured potential buyers for our local operators.

The Fiji International participated at the Fijian Tourism Expo last month and showcased the Fiji International as an additional product for buyers to sell to their clients.

Hospitality packages for international and domestic markets are now on sale and being promoted by international media partners.

The Fiji International recently signed a three-year MOU with Fiji Airways and this will be instrumental in creating accessibility for players and tourists coming to watch the tournament.

We had a number of world-class, seasoned players like Vijay Singh and Nick Price and younger professionals like India’s No. 1 golfer Anirban Lahiri attend the Fiji International.

We are confident that this year will attract even more big names and increase our visibility in the golf arena. Fijian International

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

 

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