Opinion

Editorial: 4 Issues That could Help Boost Tourism industry

The PM said currently 48 per cent of the fresh produce needs in our hotels were domestically grown produce, up from only 20 per cent in 2011. He said that percentage should be much higher, which meant farmers could earn more. He paid tribute to the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Castaway Island Resort and Treasure Island Resort, among others, for leading the charge in sourcing from local farmers –– impressively, up to 90 per cent of their produce is “Fijian Grown”.
19 Feb 2019 16:07
Editorial: 4 Issues That could Help Boost Tourism industry
From left: Fiji Excellence Tourism Awards Trustee Dixon Seeto, Life Achievement award recipients Michael Dennis and Bill Whiting, with chief guest and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on February 16, 2019, during the ANZ Fiji Excellence Tourism Awards at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Denarau, Nadi. Photos: Waisea Nasokia

4 very important issues stood out clearly during the ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards last Saturday night.

These were highlighted by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and his statements on the issues, while receiving loud applause, would have warmed the hearts of every Fijian.

Firstly, Mr Bainimarama spoke on the thousands of Fijians who “have been on the fringes of our tourism development for far too long”.

He said that was why he was a big fan of the FETA Awards, “Tourism Benefitting All Fijians”.

“Not some Fijians, or some big overseas companies, but all Fijians, everywhere in Fiji.”

He said a family struggling to make ends meet in Bua, a cane farmer toiling day in day out in Lautoka or a student fresh from university seeking their first full-time position did not really feel the full benefits of the industry.

The second issue was the need for hotels and resorts to increase the use of local produce for their menus.

This was in line with what FETA Chairman Bill Whiting had alluded to earlier in the evening on the “Multiplier Effect” of tourism to benefit all Fijians.

These are the farmers, farm workers and people who transport goods and who are part of those who are indirectly involved with the tourism industry.

The PM said currently 48 per cent of the fresh produce needs in our hotels were domestically grown produce, up from only 20 per cent in 2011.  He said that percentage should be much higher, which meant farmers could earn more. He paid tribute to the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Castaway Island Resort and Treasure Island Resort, among others, for leading the charge in sourcing from local farmers –– impressively, up to 90 per cent of their produce is “Fijian Grown”.

Plantation Island Resort, led by its general manager Alex Wilson, is strongly driving this across to its staff, especially those in the kitchen with two experienced chefs spending a week on the island concentrating on using more local produce.

“Which do you think our visitors would prefer? A typical dinner made up of a boatload of imported ingredients or a meal prepared by ingredients sourced from Fijian farmers, perhaps by produce under our new Fijian-Organic brand? I think that answer is obvious.

“When you partner a small or micro tourism enterprise in Fiji, you bring your guests one step closer to that real, rewarding Fijian experience they’re after.”

The third issue dealt with the treatment of Fijians at hotels and resorts where he was told by some locals that they were given second-class treatment.

He told hoteliers and industry leaders that when Fijians arrive at their doors, they ought to be treated exactly the same way as anyone else.

“They deserve the same level of service, they deserve the same level of attention and they deserve to feel welcome at resorts in their own country. Full stop.”

The last issue dealt with a clear stern warning to potential developers on breaches of environmental protections here in Fiji and those doing it would meet the full force of the law.

No exceptions.

He made it clear that no developer would be welcomed in Fiji if the intention was to degrade the environment, regardless of the size of the development or how grand the promises made.

Feedbackcharles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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