EDITORIAL: Success Of Fiji International Blossoms

Its back!  The Fiji International is set to take the stage from August 2 to 5 at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course. With a key strategic focus to leverage
03 Jan 2018 11:50
EDITORIAL: Success Of Fiji International  Blossoms

Its back!  The Fiji International is set to take the stage from August 2 to 5 at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.

With a key strategic focus to leverage the tournament to build awareness and grow golf tourism from key Asian markets, the stand alone date provides the best opportunity to attract key Asian players and media to attend the event.

The event will be tri-sanctioned by the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia, the European Tour and the Asian Tour. This is also good news for our national airline – Fiji Airways – because it will begin flying direct to Tokyo Narita Airport come July.

This will contribute immensely to the growing tourism market that Fiji is gaining from the land of the rising sun.

Over the past few years, the Fiji International has established a reputation among the world’s best golfers as a must attend event for themselves and their families. As part of the tri-sanctioning agreement, the Fiji International will not compete with any other tournaments on the three tours in the Asia-Pacific region during the first week in August.

The Fiji International has showcased Fiji’s capability to host international sporting events, and more specifically grow golf as a niche tourism product.

The Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, highlighted that they are thrilled to once again be a partner in this tri-sanctioned event and trust that it will secure high profile golfers from Asia and the rest of the world.

The inaugural tri-sanctioning last year, with the introduction of the Asian Tour, saw an immediate increase of Asian players in the field, rising from five to 23 players and a notable increase in television broadcast throughout Asia. However, scheduling a date on the busy global golf calendars always presents a challenge. The organisers are confident that with the support of its sanctioning partners, the prominent August date represents a great opportunity for increased interest and exposure.

While reminiscing on past events Gavin Kirkman, chief executive of the PGA of Australia which oversees the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia said: “The 2017 event resulted in over 20 hours of global broadcast vision which advertised Fiji to the world and encouraged more golf fans to visit Fiji on their next golfing holiday. We look forward to building on this in 2018.”

The early August date follows on from the successful timing of the 2017 event, which saw an impressive field of international players compete in pristine conditions, further cementing the attraction of the tournament for players. Most of the Asian golf players enjoyed themselves on the beautiful isle of Fiji and performed well with Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond closing with a superb 65 to finish tied-second.

The redesign of the championship course from Fiji’s number one golf ambassador, Vijay Singh, was on display for the first time during the 2017 event and resulted in spectacular viewing of Fiji’s natural beauty during the international broadcast.

With a further year of the redesigned holes being bedded in and with overall growth of the newly laid turf, the course is sure to be in exceptional condition this year when on show to the world.

Keith Waters, chief operating 0fficer, European Tour added: “We are delighted that the Fiji International returns to the European Tour’s international schedule for the third consecutive year. Our relationship with both the PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour continues to go from strength-to-strength through our Strategic Alliances, and we look forward to returning to Natadola Bay Golf Course and the beautiful surroundings of Fiji, for what I am sure will be another successful event in 2018.”

The PGA of Australia, in partnership with Sports & Entertainment Limited (SEL) will continue to further develop and evolve the Fiji International to ensure it continues its status as a leading tournament in the Australasian region.

Feedback:  maraiav@fijisun.com.fj

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