Opinion

EDITORIAL-A Growing Sporting Hub, More Than Just A Tropical Paradise

Known to the world as a tropical paradise, Fiji is simply more than that now. It’s now becoming another kind of paradise. It’s fast becoming a growing sporting hub in
28 May 2017 09:29
EDITORIAL-A Growing Sporting Hub, More Than Just  A Tropical Paradise
Crusaders Captain, Sam Whitelock wins the line-out against Chiefs at ANZ Stadium on May 19, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Known to the world as a tropical paradise, Fiji is simply more than that now.

It’s now becoming another kind of paradise.

It’s fast becoming a growing sporting hub in the Pacific.

Fiji has successfully hosted major international sporting events. This is attracting a broader group of international travellers with diverse interests.

The spinoff is immense, boosting the economy and assisted in the development of our small island nation.

A case in point is the Super Rugby match last week between the Chiefs and Crusaders hosted at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

It incurred a record gate-takings never collected in a single match in Fiji before.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum revealed in Parliament on Friday that the Fiji Sports Council  (FSC) earned $180, 732 which is 25 per cent of the total gate-takings of $722, 928.

The council also collected $24, 246 from sale of merchandise, liquor and car park fees.

While the figures are preliminary and will be audited, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that apart from these direct benefits, there were numerous indirect benefits Fiji received from hosting this match.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the success of hosting such an event encourage the council to lift their game in hosting more internationals at its facilities in future.

Fiji will host the Chiefs-Crusaders again next year and this augurs well for Fiji in the long run and we applaud the Government, through the Fiji National Sports Commission, for facilitating and making it happen.

Next month, the ANZ Stadium will host two rugby internationals with the Vodafone Flying Fijians playing Scotland and Italy.

And it’s almost likely that Fiji will be the ideal destination to host the 2019 Pacific Games after Tonga pulled out earlier this month.

Major resorts in Fiji are also using sports tourism to attract visitors during the off-season and its gaining momentum.

The Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort in Korotogo, and Sigatoka River Safari owner, Jay Whyte, began the very successful Coral Coast Sevens tournament seven years ago.

The tournament has grown into a multi-national event where teams from New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Germany and Japan have participated against local teams.

After the success of the 2017 event Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort general manager Pete Hopgood said;

“It was a big undertaking and we started off slow and it’s grown bigger and better every year.”

The Fiji International will again be staged at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course in August and this will continue to boost the economy. It has a global TV audience and showcases Fiji as a destination.

And the announcement on Friday that the Australian Kangaroos will face the Vodafone Fijian Bati and Papua New Guinea Kumuls in an historic tri-contest in Suva in October ahead of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup is welcomed.

It will be the Kangaroos’ first match in Fiji and Fijians will get to see some of the best league players in the world.

This is another big occasion and our sporting paradise  will benefit in the long run.

 

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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