Sunvoice

Golf, Rugby Lead The Charge In Promoting Fijian Tourism Through Sport

The sudden growth of sports tourism continues to make a big impression on us as a nation. The wider economic impact benefits our nation and goes on beyond the final
06 Nov 2016 14:16
Golf, Rugby Lead The Charge In Promoting Fijian Tourism Through Sport
Esiteri Bulikiobo drives through the PNG defence.Photo:JONE LUVENITOGA

The sudden growth of sports tourism continues to make a big impression on us as a nation.

The wider economic impact benefits our nation and goes on beyond the final whistle.

It’s becoming a major revenue source as fans and tourists feel good to spend, explore and experience the level of interest sporting events generate.

Fiji has come a long way from simply being the hub of the Pacific to a sports tourism powerhouse. Our friendliness and hospitality are unmatched. They offer that special appeal in addition to our clean green image.

There are two levels here. One is bringing people here to play sport. The other is promoting Fiji through holding major events here.

The two sports that have marketed and promoted Fiji prominently globally are rugby and golf.

 

Golf tourism

The very first golfing tourists came to Fiji 46 years ago, the same year Fiji became an independent nation in 1970.

This was the inaugural Fiji Open sponsored by Air New Zealand at Vatuwaqa, Suva, then the home of golf in Fiji. Forty-two golfers from New Zealand and Australia (20 professionals and 22 amateurs with handicap 14 and below) joined another 90 Fiji amateurs from around the islands.

New Zealand professional Bruce Rafferty won the inaugural Fiji Open and won the first prizemoney of $1500.

The then Sports minister, the late Jone Naisara encouraged the golf holiday programmes following on from the 1970 Fiji Open. He was the driving force behind attracting golf tourists to Fiji from that time.

In October Fiji hosted the Fiji International at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course for the third year attracting a large contingent of top class golfers.

The event is fully supported by the FijiFirst Government. USA professional Brandt Snedeker won the event and pocketed $250,000.

The televised event attracts a global audience, giving Fiji real time TV exposure in many places that probably have not heard of Fiji before.

 

Rugby tourism

The Vodafone Fijian 7s team gold medal win at the Rio Olympics in August supersedes all our past sporting achievements.

Like golf on television, the Olympic stage took rugby to countries which did not know or play rugby via television. More importantly, it took Fiji to the four corners of the globe and people who had not heard about Fiji before learned for the first time that it is a group of small islands in the Pacific.

The subsequent publicity is likely to boost our tourism potential. And Friday’s announcement by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama that we will host the second Super Rugby match, is another milestone. Fiji will welcome back the Gallagher Chiefs and BNZ Crusaders for a Super Rugby re-match on May 19, 2017 at ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Under the terms of the agreement, Fiji will host one match annually for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Super Rugby seasons, subject to certain approvals obtained each year.

The long-term agreement was secured following the success of the Investec Super Rugby Match hosted in Fiji in July this year that was broadcast in 14 countries and reached an estimated television audience of over two million. This signifies an exciting development for sport in Fiji and an excellent opportunity to showcase Fiji as a world-class tourism and sporting destination.

 

Congratulation Fijiana

Our rugby women continue to grow and improve. Their 37 -10 win over Papua New Guinea in the Oceania Women Championship at the ANZ Stadium in Suva yesterday, reflected the fact that they are ready to climb to the next level.

Congrats Lailanie Burnes and the team, coaching staff and the Fiji Rugby Union. It’s just the start of many good things to come.

 

Feedback:  oseab@fijisun.com.fj



Five Squares 7S Gold Deals


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Total
Covid 19 - SPC
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper