PM: Tourism Standards Have Made Fiji A Sophisticated Nation

World tourism is a very competitive industry and tourism has raised standards throughout Fiji making us a more sophisticated country. This was the message from Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last
20 Feb 2016 11:17
PM: Tourism  Standards Have Made Fiji A Sophisticated Nation
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama hands over the Fijian Host of the Year 2015 Award to Navneet Singh, Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority Customs Officer. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

World tourism is a very competitive industry and tourism has raised standards throughout Fiji making us a more sophisticated country.

This was the message from Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last night during the 2015 ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards held at the Denarau Convention Centre.

Mr Bainimarama said: “Tourism has made us a more sophisticated country because we have set out to attract discerning consumers.

“These are travellers who have limited time to spend on vacation, who work hard all year, and who look for the best in accommodations, cuisine, shopping, natural beauty and adventure. And we are giving them more than they expect.”

He stressed this raises our own expectations as well.

“It drives us to be better, more efficient, more modern and more self-critical,” he said.

“We must pursue this spirit of excellence as individuals, as a society, as an economy – in our retail commerce, our service industry – and our Government.”

Fourteen awards were given out yesterday to the best of the best in our tourism industry which included individuals as well as companies.

Mr Bainimarama noted that Fiji was experiencing unprecedented sustained economic growth, optimism and confidence.

Whilst he said he could not attribute this entirely to the tourism sector, but he felt it was fair to say we would be a very different country today if it wasn’t for tourism.

“We all have moulded Fiji into a world class product, an aspirational destination. That has made all the difference,” he said.

He has assured stakeholders that his Government is here and will continue to provide true stability based on a focussed and tangible vision.

“My Government will continue to provide consistency and innovation in policies and transparent rules to create a modern and just society in which there is prosperity,” he said.


More than a fine product

Mr Bainimarama said visitor arrival figures reflect that tourism stakeholders have developed our tourism industry into more than a fine product.

“They have developed an experience that people around the world want to have, many of them over and over again,” he said.

“You have created experiences for luxury travellers, environmental travellers, and even young people.”

Mr Bainimarama further stressed that our tourism brand is very much supported by perceptions overseas of who we are.

“We are a welcoming and hospitable people and a country with a pristine environment and natural beauty,” he said.

“These qualities however need to be maintained and complimented by an adherence to international benchmarks, labour and environmental standards and creation of ancillary activities.”


Awards evolution

Mr Bainimarama noted the Excellence in Tourism Awards have evolved over the years.

He said: “They have grown as our tourism industry has broadened and become more sophisticated and organised, and they recognise excellence in all our tourism products across a range of sectors and market segments.”

This year there were 145 applications for the 13 categories, which is strong evidence of the high standards that people value throughout the industry.

“I fully expect that there will be more applications next year,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“As we recognise the accomplishments of so many companies, it is important to remember that tourism is very much a people industry.

“And there are hundreds and hundreds of people who make our reputation, who provide the wonderful experience.”


Navneet Singh recognised

One of those recognised was Navneet Singh, a Customs officer for the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority, who was singled out by Mr Bainimarama.

Mr Singh was awarded the 2015 Fijian Host of the Year Award.

“I am singling this award out for mention because it shows just how important people are to our tourism industry,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“Because Fijian Hosts is a way that Government workers at Nadi International Airport have come together to make the visitor experience a memorable one once a visitor arrives.

“Fiji Hosts has trained approximately 450 front-liners, a truly remarkable achievement.”


Edited by Maraia Vula

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