Business | SUNBIZ | Tourism

Yacht Industry Works On Making Fiji Known

The yacht industry is working with Tourism Fiji to bring traffic into the country, says Sheena Hughes. Ms Hughes is the director for mar­keting and special projects for the multi-million dollar Nawi Island de­velopment in Savusavu.
01 Oct 2022 11:00
Yacht Industry Works On Making Fiji Known
Representing Fiji at the Monaco yaght show, Nawi, Denarau and Tourism Fiji team. Photo: Nawi Island

The yacht industry is working with Tourism Fiji to bring traffic into the country, says Sheena Hughes.

Ms Hughes is the director for mar­keting and special projects for the multi-million dollar Nawi Island de­velopment in Savusavu.

Ms Hughes said the challenge for the industry now was creating awareness and making Fiji known to the World.

Since February, the industry has been attending boat shows around the world to promote Fiji.

The Monaco yacht show is the re­cent one.

The four-day show started on Sep­tember 28 and ends on October 1.

There is a South Pacific booth, in it is Cook Islands, Australia and Fiji.

Denarau and Nawi are represent­ing Fiji at this event.

“Most of these places don’t even know where Fiji is,” she said.

“When you say Fiji some from countries like the United Kingdom, Monaco, will be asking where’s that?

“How can you not know Fiji?”

Ms Hughes said Fiji was doing well at the show.

“Our guys in Monaco are tradition­ally dressed up with kava also dis­played at the booth.

“Monaco is the largest location for boat shows, , unfortunately they don’t know about Fiji.

“A lot of them ask us the same ques­tion every year so we are trying to change that sort of perception. This year was good because Tourism Fiji assisted us with the booth so Nawi and Denarau got involved.

“It’s good to give some exposure to Fiji which is such a small island and we’ve attended boat shows in Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

“We plan to do this every year.”

Yachting is completely a different industry, it’s a very niche market, so we are trying to change all of that and have Fiji more inclusive because a lot of time yachting is just for in­ternational gangs.”

Nawi Development

The multi-million dollar project will open its Marina, phase 1, by year end.

Ms Hughes said their focus now was bringing in yachters to Savusa­vu.

The marina is strategically nestled between three islands – Nawi, Ko­rovesa and Nawi Lailai

“It will be good for the economy and it helps locals sell their crafts, vege­tables, fruits and it picks up a little bit of traffic through Savusavu,” Ms Hughes said.

She added everyone in Savusavu, let alone Vanua Levu, was excited about the major development’s open­ing which would provide hundreds of jobs to the locals.

“It has been quiet for so long and after COVID, the locals have gone through tough times.

“So when we open, we will supply work for the locals, we have em­ployed a few who are working on the island, our retail stores will be opening on Korovesa and those have been let out to locals, we have a res­taurant, laundry and all of these we have recruited or engage Savusavu locals.

“They are good, active and excited about Nawi.”

Plans

Nawi has plans to have yearly events at the island and involving local in game fishing tournaments, music festivals and more.

“At the moment we are trying to make partnerships with everybody and say ‘look guys we’ve got a new venue, a new place up the North so if you guys want to use it please come, we are open’.

“We’ve got a strong local team, and our investors are Americans. In terms of decisions and running the hotel, it is all the locals at the Island.

“Nawi is built specifically for yacht­ing so what we tell everybody is, we are opening, these are our services, we also have a boat yard, so people can come and leave their boats in Sa­vusavu.”

Ms Hughes said they were also working on sponsorship initiatives like providing funding for hospitals and clothes drives.

“Our investors send in about 250kg of clothes every month and that ideally would be given out to areas within orphanages. We are hoping to work very closely with Lomani Au and other NGO’S on the island to set up these sort of engagements.”

Meanwhile, cruising companies in Australia and New Zealand are also helping in the promotion of the Nawi Island project, said Ms Hughes.

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Story By:  selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj



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