Tourism Icon John Birch Passes Away

Tourism pioneer and  hotelier John Birch passed away peacefully in Nadi on Saturday. His daughter, Angela said her dad would be laid to rest today at the Balawa Cemetery in
12 Sep 2018 14:37
Tourism Icon John Birch Passes Away
The late John Birch with his daughters Angela and Andrea after receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award last year. PHOTO: WAISEA NASOKIA

Tourism pioneer and  hotelier John Birch passed away peacefully in Nadi on Saturday.

His daughter, Angela said her dad would be laid to rest today at the Balawa Cemetery in Lautoka.

Minister for Tourism Faiyaz Koya said Mr Birch was an intricate part of Fiji’s tourism industry.

“Mr Birch made immense contribution to the tourism industry and his passing was indeed a sad loss.

“He dedicated many years to the tourism industry.”

Mr Koya expressed his condolences to Mr Birch’s family.

Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association president Dixon Seeto said Mr Birch was one person who he could remember well as one of the pioneers of the tourism industry.

“He was very much involved with the development of the industry in Fiji,” Mr Seeto said.

“He was an example to many people and businesses who were starting off their ventures in the industry.”

Mr Seeto said Mr Birch  was happy that he was awarded  the Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards lifetime achievement award in 2017.

He was a very hardworking gentleman who was always there to help.

Mr Seeto said Mr Birch and his wife Ana were icons in the industry.

Mr Birch, while receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award said he believed one of the more important aspects in the industry is family involvement.

After receiving the Award, at the 2016 ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards at the Sheraton Fiji Resort & Spa on Denarau Island, Mr Birch, paid tribute to his late wife, Ana Ramacake Birch.

He said the tourism industry was a people vision, but some people focused on people, others focused on business and most of them were somewhere along that line of spectrum.

“Ana was definitely a people person. Those of you who knew her would know that she has a very outgoing, warm and welcoming personality,” Mr Birch said of his wife.

“I had two immediate reactions; one was to ask myself why am I coming to receive this accolade and I immediately recognise it was a fine tribute to Ana.

“I understand that there have, on few occasions, been couples who have been given this award. It touches on another aspect of the tourism industry, which I would like to briefly mention and that is the role of the family.

“Many have one spouse involved in the industry and as certain times in the business, it impacts the family and when both spouses are involved the impact becomes more noticeable.

Ms Birch said her father was a private person and she respected that.

Mr Birch is survived by daughters Angela and Andrea.

Honourary Life Member

Mr Birch was an Fiji Hotel & Tourism Association Honourary Life Member and staunch supporter of the Association for over 40 years.

After 12 years of operating their own business, Mr Birch and his wife Ana, decided to open the Sandalwood Lodge in 1993.

They offered affordable accommodation to guests who preferred to self-cater, yet also have the option to eat out at nearby restaurants. In 2000, they expanded their Lodge.

With a team of 20 dedicated staff, 33 rooms, a waiting lounge and reception area, the Sandalwood Lodge was an iconic Nadi accommodation brand that was also family owned and managed.


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