Tourism Infrastructure Expanding Rapidly

When I first came to Fiji to talk to Ross Addison about working for the agency in Suva, I was put up in the only decent hotel in Nadi and
27 Jan 2018 11:03
Tourism Infrastructure Expanding Rapidly
Mr John Ross

When I first came to Fiji to talk to Ross Addison about working for the agency in Suva, I was put up in the only decent hotel in Nadi and the only one on Denarau Island, the Regent.

The name was changed after several years to the Westin, but is still operating in what is basically the original structure, except for a number of upgrades, renovations and refits and still enjoys remarkable levels off occupancy.

It is now part of the Marriott Group after the merger of the Starwood properties in 2017, but it is no longer alone.

There are now eight world class brands on Denarau (including the Sheraton Apartments) offering a good spread of choices for tourists and at least two more are in line to be built.

There is also the Golf and Racquet Club and the Port Denarau Marina Complex to provide the entertainment, shopping and dining options covering a wide range of excellent cuisines.

From the first hotel on Denarau the progress was very slow with a number of brands being interested but, for one reason or another, hesitant.

One hotel lot was purchased by a company in which the then Air Pacific, the country’s international airline, was a major shareholder but development was delayed for a number of reasons.

Slowly the hotel and resort infrastructure developed, but it did so at an exponentially increasing rate until today it is basically a completed project and the heart of the Fiji tourism industry.

On the other half of Denarau Island the development of the largest integrated resort development in the South Pacific, Denarau Waters is proceeding rapidly and when finished the whole Denerau area will be a huge tourism hub with around 20 world class resort hotels, entertainment and tourism experience areas, an excellent golf course and a very large residential sector.

And of course there is the Port Denarau Marina, the departure point for both tourists to the outer island resorts and those taking day trips and experience trips.

The marina handles around 800,000 movements a year and importantly, is also the home to foreign super yachts which form a very profitable niche market for the tourism industry, one which shows excellent prospects for growth.

The Mamanucas and Yasawa Island groups also contribute significant numbers of rooms to the tourism pool and offer resorts from the back pack level to some of the finest and most luxurious properties in the world, with Likuliku, Laucala, Tokoriki, Turtle Island and Vomo, consistently making the winners circle in international awards.

From the founding of the First Landing Resort under the watchful eye of Jim Dunn the area had shown steady growth and there are still more projects in the pipeline. The Vuda Marina is home to many cruising yachts as well as a number of vessels belonging to tourism operators.


On the mainland

Development of tourism infrastructure, particularly hotels and resorts, started some time ago with the Fantasy Island integrated resort in Wailoaloa.

This was the first major development along the Wailoaloa stretch of beach and after 15 years is nearing completion.

There is a very large Marina which will include both an industrial area that will service both marine tourism operators and other marine related businesses.

This will provide a much needed marine facility very close to Nadi and there will be several barge companies using it as a base.

It is also the mainland base of a number of outer island resorts and those still in the building phase are finding the location very useful.

Work has also started on a large marina terminal with a hotel and all the other services that tourists require.


Other operation:

Further along the beach there are a number of well-established operations such as Aquarius, Smuggler’s Cove, Nadi Bay Resort, Blue Water Lodge, Club Fiji, Beachside Resort, Grand West Villas and Wailoaloa Beach Resort.

There are also new projects that are planned or have already started.

The Palms development on the beach is planned for four hotels and a significant number of residential lots and although civil works are still underway almost every lot has been sold.

Next to that is a very large site that where the landfill is almost complete, running from the beach front to Wailoaloa Road and this is being developed by a Chinese company.

It is planned that a five hundred room hotel will be built here and, while no information is available, it is probable that this will be a multi-storey structure, making it one of the first such tourism buildings in the Nadi area.

The Chinese hotel on the Queen’s Highway next to McDonald’s is nearing completion and is looking very good.

It is a nine storey building and has become a landmark as the tallest building in the Nadi area.

Another interesting building in Wailoaloa is the one being built by the Gokal family close to the beach. It is a very large structure and is reportedly to be branded as a Pullman.

There appear to be some delays in the construction, but the building is certainly well advanced.

The projections for the next five years are for extremely strong growth in the Fiji tourism industry and there are several Chinese airlines wanting to operate into Fiji, so there is obviously a need to expand the tourism plant.

Current activity would appear to say that any problems that may have existed have been solved, not by any formal planning but by the opportunity that developers and tourism operators saw coming and reacted to for their own benefit.

It is also interesting to observe that the Nadi Area Tourism Development Olan developed over 15 years ago has actually happened.


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