Making Destination Suva Shine Again

Suva is Fiji’s forgotten Tourist destination and has been for 30 years. And there’s a need to change this. General Manager for the Grand Pacific Hotel, Peter Gee, made these
08 Mar 2017 11:00
Making Destination Suva Shine Again
Grand Pacific Hotel general manager Peter Gee yesterday. Photo: IVAMERE NATARO

Suva is Fiji’s forgotten Tourist destination and has been for 30 years. And there’s a need to change this.

General Manager for the Grand Pacific Hotel, Peter Gee, made these comments in an interview yesterday.

And today, Mr Gee is doing something about it.

A dialogue will be held at the GPH — itself a tourism icon – from 5pm to 7pm.

Mr Gee and the Market Development Facility (MDF) — the organisation that has been actively assisting develop destination marketing in the Suncoast and Kadavu regions — have engaged the services of Albert Stafford, a tourism development and planning specialist, in a destination marketing consultant’s dialogue.

Mr Gee said Suva did not have the same tourist destination development as other areas in Fiji.

“If you think about it, because back in 1986, people had to stop coming to Suva unless they had to for a long time,” Mr Gee said.

“Suva has been off the map for 30 years as a tourist destination, which is equivalent to one and half generation.

“There is much more to Fiji then coconut trees and white sand. Here we are, in the hub of the South Pacific, we are looking at this magnificent harbour, we can see Joske’s thumb, we can see Beqa island, we’ve got the Suva City which is diverse, multicultural and it’s a big commercial centre, everyone understands that, but Suva does not understand what it’s got and what it can offer.

“What is apparent to me, is that Suva is not working together, stakeholders are not working together, so there’s a need that we identify and understand what we’ve got, to take pride in it, to develop it and then to promote it.”

He added heritage buildings like the Fiji Museum could be the best museum in the South Pacific.

“The fish market for instance, you walk into Suva on a Saturday morning, you can tell it’s a fish market, but you walk past there during the day, you cannot tell if it’s a fish market. How do you know, unless you’re from Suva that the fish market opens on Saturday morning, there are no signs.

“We have got to take baby steps first. The aim of the meeting is to get everyone’s opinion and work out how we can go from there. Identify what we’ve got and then take it to the next level; you put it on Facebook, put in on a website.

The Destination Marketing Consultation dialogue

A platform where key stakeholders can discuss the development of new products or enhancement of existing attractions and the effective promotion of the product to both the domestic and international tourism markets.

Mr Gee said: “The objective is to establish the interest, viability and sustainability because what I know from the feedback is that the interest is there.

“There are a lot of things that can be done with imagination. The main point is getting the key people together. The council and everyone need assistance. Getting the stakeholders together with a common vision, you got chance to do it.

About 50 people will be attending the consultation today.

About Albert Stafford

The Destination Marketing Organisation consultant, Albert Stafford of Stafford Group (Australia), comes with more than 25 years of experience with the development of numerous local tourism organisations, regional tourism organisations and destination management organisations in Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa.

One of his assignments, while in Fiji, is to meet new/emerging tourism destinations like Suva by holding preliminary consultations with key tourist operators to assess their potentials and then help these organisations develop a basic Destination Action Plan, outlining key steps, activities and timeline.

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