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Fantasha Highlights Focus Areas

Fantasha Lockington is back where she began — tourism and hospitality. And looking forward to serving and helping the members of one of the industry’s key bodies. Ms Lockington is
17 Jan 2017 11:20
Fantasha Highlights Focus Areas

Fantasha Lockington is back where she began — tourism and hospitality. And looking forward to serving and helping the members of one of the industry’s key bodies.

Ms Lockington is the new chief executive of the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA).

She succeeds Michael Wong, who resigned from the post last month.

Yesterday in her new office at the employers hub in Gorrie Street, Suva, she discussed her plans for the association plus her background experiences before becoming the CEO of FHTA.

 

Focus areas and plans:

Before I start focusing on things, I want to be able to get out there and ask members what it is they want. If they want clarity on something or want something or changes then take it from there and start working towards it.

But some of the areas I want to focus on are, providing more training for the members of the association and the staff of the tourism and hotel industries.

We have the potential to access a whole lot of training and make these trainings available to the industry. It can be food training, service training, OHS and a whole lot of area that can be made accessible to them.

Another area is our work with the Ministry of Health on food safety, there is already works on this area but there are no go-to documents where it states that you can hold someone reliable because of any wrong doings regarding this. This is to make sure that we maintain our standard of serving the best food to people and not dropping it below standard requirements.

The other area is making sure that the association provides the kind of information its members want. There are a lot of questions members ask for and they need reports. For example, sometimes six organizations want six different types of reports, so what we can do is try to facilitate these requests into two reports.

So we need people to provide us with the data, that’s when we work with the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Tourism, with FRCA to see how we can make these reports user-friendly, from people putting in the data to people using the data. We work with these organisations to provide the statistics, how many people come in, how much they spent. All these information will be useful to Government.

The main thing to remember is that we are here to provide information accessibility to our members. If we can do that by giving them what they want by making the area more robust and vibrant, then that’s the thing for us to provide for the members.

There are also areas that are not available but I want to focus on. Find out what their staff want and start helping them.

 

Back with the tourism industry:

It feels like I never left, it’s like business as usual. I took everything I learned from the tourism industry to Housing Authority. Like understanding the people you serve.

Tourism is an old industry; I got a lot of welcome backs and I also stayed abreast of what is happening in the industry.

We make our mistakes when we go, but that’s how we become a vibrant country, if we don’t do things right the first time, we can do it again.

 

Did you see yourself where you are today, back then?

Probably not, but in the long-term when I read about the job at FHTA, I told myself I can do this, I know I can do this.

And being with the Housing Authority has helped me a lot by knowing both the public and industry sectors.  It gave me an insight to who to call. One must remember that the day to day business is getting to know the right people in the right places.

 

Background:

I was with Air Pacific (now Fiji Airways) from the 80s to 2005. I started off as a flight attendant when I was only 20 years old. So later, I moved into product development and marketing services. Product development is what the customer gets to feel here, see, eat, so I looked at that and matched that to what we were branding the airline as.

I had basically access to all levels, I worked with engineering, looking at the inflight magazines, etc.  At the time cabin crew procedures were very limited so we were the ones who started writing up procedures and putting standards into place. I started out auditing the service, and then I went into developing the products for the service.

From there, then I went on to the marketing area to look after branding. We ensured that we provided the best product and service for the customers like when we launched the Island in the Sky brand; this was to bring Fiji closer to our customers by making them feel like they are in Fiji when they walk into the plane.

When I left the airline, I joined the Blue Lagoon Cruises as its Director, Global Sales and Marketing. And we had sales managers in different parts of the world.

We had five-star product at the time and we were geared towards high-end market. So we were looking at people who were coming in from the US, Australia, New Zealand, people who were coming in for honeymoons.

We changed the reservation system there, we did a lot of sales and marketing to high-end markets. Boutique areas that focused on various sectors such as diving.

I love being at Blue Lagoon, the islands out there are amazing.

From there I saw an ad in the paper that looking for someone to serve in the public sector.

Six years ago there were a lot of complaints on the kind of service provided, Government was frustrated of all the complaints from the public, so I said, I can do this.

I was the only female general manager in the area. I had no financial background, all the general managers’ before me had knowledge of how to handle finance.

I learned my way through it. I try as much as possible to do basic customer service.  The other thing to ensure is that your customer complaints decreases, by looking at what the customer is complaining about and addressing those specific areas.

A lot of it really is to understand what it is the customer wants. Housing Authority is a unique place to work in. We develop product to suit, so we develop low interest loans, we asked people what they want and so we keep them.

So that gave me my public sector background. So when they advertised, they were looking for someone with a bit of both, the public sector and the tourism experience, I went for it.

The FHTA has a lot of members and customers it looks after, so there’s a lot of business we look after, there’s the hotels, the outer island resorts, the dive association. It is growing, a lot of people coming to Fiji because of our marine.

FHTA’s job is to make sure that things within those industries work well, like satisfying the needs of all the members and the customers. We work with the certain ministries in trying to satisfy everyone’s needs.

 

About FHTA:

Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association was established in 1965 and is the industry body for the country’s hotels and resorts. It also includes dive and marine tourism operators.

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