Giving Back to the Community – Donations to Animals Fiji Shelter

Giving Back to the Community – Donations to Animals Fiji Shelter

Nadi, Fiji -­ March 01, 2020 – Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay’s team of associates visits Animals Fiji shelter at Nasoso in Nadi, donating retired paper materials through the ‘Solia Lesu’ (Give Back) program. The resort team had a delightful opportunity to also tour and visit the sheltered pets, further recognizing the types of service offered to care for animals at the shelter for adoption, caretaking and livelihood enhancements especially for those staying at the shelter. Animals Fiji also highlighted the engaged community works carried out to help the strays in Fiji, particularly within the areas in the Western and Northern divisions. The donated paper materials will help the sheltered pets to have daily clean flooring to sleep and play on within their safely contained pens.

“The Solia Lesu program was initially founded in 2020 to establish aid towards our associates as well as the community where the resort had fundraised for food packs, school stationaries and toys, including hotel linens for donations. We are glad to have extended our initiative towards the furry friends and placing the recyclable telephone directories into better use at the Animals Fiji shelter. We look forward to continuing developing meaningful and supportive relationships with the community through our TakeCare culture of Marriott International,” says Silvano Dressino, General Manager of Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay.

Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay had also extended love towards animals welcoming pet to stay with the Pawfect Staycation package, an ideal holiday plan for travellers with service animals or well-mannered pets in one of our Duplex Ocean Front rooms. Guests travelling with their canine pets will be offered a special dog biscuit made by our chefs and a drinking bowl is placed into rooms. The room type and location is perfect for guests to go on relaxing walks on the footpaths between lush gardens with calming views of the Pacific Ocean or take a swim in the ocean. Dining areas with comfortable sitting spaces are also specially allocated for guests with their four-legged friend. An additional $50 cleaning fees is charged for pet check-ins. For more information on the Pawfect Staycation, contact the resort directly on + 679 670 7000 or +679 890 6038.

Around 2000 hotel workers expected to be made redundant soon

Around 2000 hotel workers expected to be made redundant soon

Fijivillage 25 February 2021 – Around 2000 hotel workers who were sent on leave without pay since last year are expected to be made redundant soon.

Majority of these workers have been unemployed since April last year.

National Union of Hotel and Catering Employees General Secretary Daniel Urai says 7 major hotels and resorts which had earlier sent their workers on leave without pay are now negotiating with the union for redundancy packages.

The redundancy package is where a staff will get a weeks pay for each year of service.

Urai says these hotels had hoped to bring these workers back when things normalize but they have realized that this is not going to happen any time soon.

He adds these hotels do not want to hold back workers on leave without pay anymore because they realize that the workers need the money they will receive from the redundancy package.

Urai adds most of the hotels are only employing 25 percent of the workforce for maintenance purposes.

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Our Fijian escape fantasy

Our Fijian escape fantasy

Ensemble Magazine 1 February 2021 – But then a stroke of genius befell me: we could go to Fiji. I cautiously got some quotes and was pleasantly surprised. It really wasn’t too much more than renting a decent bach in peak season. And, no traffic delays, stressful supermarket shopping, cleaning or cooking. Also? Kids club.

So, instead of battling Farro at 8am on Christmas Eve, we casually Ubered to the airport, and by that afternoon my children were happily ensconced in the kids club, while my husband and I drank mojitos with a lovely family from Brisbane while we all congratulated ourselves on being so clever and so relaxed.

Santa visited our bure that night, bringing with him sunblock, books and a pack of cards. We were woken by local villagers singing Christmas carols on the glorious beach at dawn and as we all stood to watch, the big man himself flew past on a jet ski.

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Five Fiji resorts we’ve been dreaming about

Five Fiji resorts we’ve been dreaming about

NZ House & Garden 18 January 2021 – Yes we’re blessed with a beautiful country and yes we’ve been lucky to have escaped the long laborious lockdowns others around the world have experienced. But we’ve been gagging to escape from these shores and indulge in one of our biggest national pastimes – travel.

And when those international flights start up again, one of the best – and wisest – choices may be closer to home. Think Fiji.

Fiji holidays are like no other. Just a three-hour flight away, they are the ultimate in relaxation with superb weather, beaches and pools galore, and wide smiles and exuberant “bula” greetings from its friendly, welcoming people. Bliss in early post-Covid lockdown times.

Restrictions are also likely to ease between New Zealand and Fiji right at the best time to visit – during our winter when the Fiji weather is mild, settled and dry.

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Backpacker Tourism Faces a Changing Landscape Post-Pandemic

Backpacker Tourism Faces a Changing Landscape Post-Pandemic

Skift 23 February 2021 – For decades, hordes of travellers have explored vast sections of the globe with a backpack in tow. Whether they were hitting up the tried and true Banana Pancake Trail in Southeast Asia or memorably losing a journal during those travels, many people have viewed those trips as seminal moments in their lives.

But backpacker tourism faces an uncertain post-pandemic future. Several destinations, like New Zealand, that are popular with backpackers may focus more on attracting high-end visitors.

Moreover, the death of backpacker tourism has already been foreshadowed as the cheap flights many young travellers have relied on may become less frequent as airlines seek to recoup the massive losses they’ve suffered.

But is such fear warranted? Maybe not. Outdoor tourism remains a popular option for travellers looking for socially distanced activities.

“I don’t think that anything will ‘kill off’ youth tourism,” said Wendy Morrill, the research and education manager at the WYSE Travel Confederation. “And I say, ‘youth tourism’ as ‘backpacker tourism’ as what I consider Australia and New Zealand’s branding/labelling of the segment of travellers who are 30 to 35 years old or younger and utilize their working holidays schemes,” she added.

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Fiji and PNG: no room to move on COVID-19

Fiji and PNG: no room to move on COVID-19

Devpolicy Blog 25 February 2021 – Neither Fiji nor Papua New Guinea, the two economic giants of the Pacific, has been able to increase spending to respond to the health or the economic fall out of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.

In both countries, after adjusting for inflation, spending in 2021 will be about the same as it was in 2019. The consistency of spending before COVID-19 (2019) and after the onset of the pandemic (2021) across both countries over the three years is quite remarkable, and clearly evident from the graph below. (2020, though not shown, is hardly different either.)

What the graph also makes clear is that the situation in both Fiji and PNG is very different to that here in Australia, where the government has engaged in a massive spending splurge, increasing spending by about 39% to protect Australians against the pandemic downturn.

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Tourism Talanoa: The Change Expected or the Change Forced

Tourism Talanoa: The Change Expected or the Change Forced

FHTA, 26 February 2021 – “How many human beings have to die before some people understand the gravity of the situation?” The plea from British author Wayne Gerard Trotman is succinct but weighty.

That age-old belief that things will worsen before they improve rings true too as in a December 2020 briefing by the World Health Organization, that the ‘destiny’ of COVID-19 is for it to become endemic, rather than to disappear as many are hoping.
Simply put, that means that COVID becomes a part of our lives that will have to be adapted to a level that will be eventually considered ‘normal’.

Think back to post 9/11 airport protocols that when first imposed we vehemently opposed and criticised. Believe it or not, that was twenty (20) years ago and we have been observing travel protocols at airports and in aircraft and airlines that relate to the safety requirements that were put into place as a result. These are now considered normal.

So as Fiji endeavours to maintain its ‘COVID-contained’ status amid a sprinkling of confirmed cases at border quarantine facilities, we need to adopt the mindset that the changes that will have to be imposed for future travel as well as into our daily lives will be changing to protect our lives, our livelihoods and consequently our economy.

The United States reported this week that their total COVID-19 deaths have surpassed 500,000 and that is out of their confirmed cases of 27 million. That death toll figure is a sombre one especially for a small island nation like Fiji where that would translate to about 56% of our population.

WHO’s tally of the global death toll is at 2,462,911 out of a total of 111,102,016 confirmed cases. So, if one thing is certain in these most uncertain of times, it is that the virus is slowly but assuredly making its slow trek around the globe. Hitting some countries twice and even three times in devastating and waves that bring entire cities to a complete halt.

With COVID-19 recognised as a new coronavirus, there has not been sufficiently solid research or enough experience with its infection rates until now.

Around mid-2020, whilst the world was in the throes of the pandemic, Fiji was struggling with an outbreak of dengue and leptospirosis. At that time, we only recorded one COVID-related fatality, but there were four from dengue and 10 from leptospirosis.

So, while we are well aware of the issues that the world is currently facing, sometimes it is the lesser-known issues that relate the most to us in Fiji as a developing island economy.

We have done well to remain COVID contained, but the impacts of COVID on our economy has now been well-documented.
It is therefore heartening to see and often be part of support being offered for a range of people and businesses from all walks of life.

Initially support poured in that targeted tourism workers who had lost their jobs. Donors, development agencies, NGO’s and multinational organisations have looked for practical ways to provide guidance, funding, training and support to both industry-affected businesses and their employees.

Many initiatives have provided direct support as well as facilitating partnerships that create opportunities that benefit individual, groups and communities. These provide access to training, upskilling, direct financial assistance or financial literacy programs.

Connecting small businesses owners to tools, support networks and mentors is helping provide survival options. Thousands of unemployed Fijians are being assisted to look for alternative revenue channels, understand basic business principles in their new ventures or learn new skills.

People who were employed in the creative arts that relied on tourism are tapping into technical advice provided by a recent partnership of ILO and Market Development Facility (MDF) that provided support for Business Development Services.

It is not generally appreciated that dancers, entertainers including meke groups, singers, craftspeople like carvers, weavers and jewellery makers, children’s nannies and activities or fitness staff rely on tourism for employment but can get left out of formal Government support because they are part of the informal sector.

Several initiatives are now available in Fiji which supports sustainable economic development by targeting the unemployed sectors (both formal and informal), women’s groups, communities, SME’s, entrepreneurs and even first-time farmers.

Whatever we were doing before COVID hit, must be reevaluated to first survive the crisis – because we do not know how long it will last, and then tweaked first to determine whether that product or service is needed now for the market that has changed as a result of the crisis, and then reviewed again for the post-COVID timeframe when that market may again shift and change as a result of borders reopening eventually.

This is a key basic message that is being discussed and delivered during these support programs and training sessions.
Change is hard but survival is key for anyone considering being around in business for the years ahead that are expected to be extremely positive, especially for travel in the post COVID world.

So, while we remain protected with our borders still closed and the worst of the virus still far away, we know the floodgates could open once travel resumes. We are working hard behind the scenes to provide guidance, communication avenues and support where needed, and with the relevant agencies to survive the crisis and stay safe.

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently predicted that most low-income countries would not ‘have wide access to a vaccine before 2022–23”. While that paints a grim picture for small island nations’ immunization efforts, Fiji and her Pacific Island neighbours appear to have had better luck in accessing at least the first shipments of vaccines being made available through friendly larger neighbours and better networks.

Ben Franklin said “When you’ve finished changing, you’re finished” and he wasn’t even an entrepreneur or businessman.
Fijian tourism is evolving into its next stage, involuntarily as it has been from COVID. Fiji as a young country is also evolving, forced as well by the dynamics of COVID.

How we embrace the changes will determine our eventual success.

By: Fantasha Lockington – CEO, FHTA (Published in the Fiji Times on 26 February 2021)

Travel’s COVID-19 Blues Are Likely Here to Stay

Travel’s COVID-19 Blues Are Likely Here to Stay

Bangkok Post 23 February 2021 – The outlook for a rebound in travel this year has dimmed after the global pandemic ravaged the industry and hurt tourism-dependent economies, with travellers postponing plans amid vaccine delays and border restrictions.

Tourist destinations from Thailand to Iceland had been hoping Covid-19 vaccines would allow countries to reopen their borders and drive a much-needed recovery in 2021. Now, with vaccine rollouts delayed in some places and new virus strains appearing, it is looking more likely that international travel could be stalled for years.

After declaring that 2020 was the worst year for tourism on record, with one billion fewer international arrivals, the United Nations World Tourism Organization says prospects for a 2021 rebound have worsened.

In October, 79% of experts polled by the agency believed a 2021 rebound was possible. Only 50% said they believed that in January, and some 41% didn’t think travel would reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024 or beyond.

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Tourism Talanoa: Keeping Fiji Safe is Everyone’s Business

Tourism Talanoa: Keeping Fiji Safe is Everyone’s Business

FHTA, 18 February 2021 – Preparing to restart business at some stage this year from the imposed hibernation of the past year will be a challenge for many in tourism industries around the world.

In Fiji, this planning might not have started quite so urgently, but there is still much to do to ensure businesses survive for the next few months to thrive in what is expected to be high demand for international travel when borders eventually do open up,
As the nation gears up to this eventual opening of borders that many are hopeful will be later in the year, our tourism family continues to estimate the continued closure timeframes against their dwindling cash flows.

Some resorts have been able to open for a variety of reasons and under various conditions. These include providing quarantine facilities for Government for use by residents and permit holders returning on repatriation flights for 14 days each.

They also include offering residents the opportunity to experience a taste of our famous Fijian hospitality in beautiful surroundings at a fraction of the usual rates. Others are offering boutique holiday experiences to small groups of international visitors using the Vacation in Paradise (VIP) Lanes or Blue Lane corridors which require that 14 days be part of the journey that makes up their isolated quarantine confinement period.

The success of these available options has been defined by the adoption and adherence of the new COVID safe protocols and collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism to coordinate arrivals, transfers and monitoring of testing requirements.

Confirmed COVID positive cases have generally been border quarantine cases, meaning they have arrived into the country and whilst in quarantine have been confirmed as positive through the required testing processes, so would have contracted the virus whilst overseas or on their way home.

There has been very little media coverage in Fiji and even around the world on the condition of people with COVID once confirmed as positive, what contributed to patients’ eventual recovery and how families have dealt with this.
Information is sparse at best and often speculative or through highly questionable social media sources.

While the devastation it caused to families and communities in Italy where extended families with inter-generational family structures are similar to Fiji, and initially in the US provided glimpses into how terrifying the virus could make life for entire countries, Fiji’s relative isolation has cushioned our understanding to a “not likely to happen to us” type scenario.

Perhaps that is why we are so complacent with learning to live with the expected new hygiene requirements and why many are often shocked to hear that we must learn to live with this virus despite the planned vaccination program rollouts here and world-wide.

Far more effective public awareness campaigns must be carried out to make keeping Fiji safe everyone’s business and not just be about hand-washing and coughing into elbows.

Many of us do not know what to expect if someone we lived with contracted the virus and have no understanding of how dangerous it could be if several family members got infected as a result.

In businesses and across entire industries, many have returned to pre-COVID conditions with handwashing not so strictly observed (the water is there but there is no soap in the dispenser), sanitiser gels have disappeared off counters and social distancing has become too hard to do.

Additionally, the initial registration of people entering buildings and getting their temperatures taken has started to disappear with only hotels, Nadi Airport and Fiji Airways demanding proof of the downloaded Care Fiji App to assist with contact tracing efforts.

In tourism businesses, however, these are practised diligently, reminded, trained and monitored. Face masks are expected to be worn and full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is donned in quarantine hotels, airport areas, transport and laundry handling facilities.

Passenger boats, transfer vehicles, airport architecture, aircraft interiors and hotel rooms and surroundings are being cleaned with specific virus-neutralizing cleaning equipment and disinfectants.

Will this be replicated across retail shops, restaurants, public transport, banks and other offices around Fiji? It must if these same businesses expect international visitors to use their services or expect local tourism workers who will come into contact with the visitors to use their services.

The extra precautions mean additional costs but are necessary so must be borne to maintain the practice until advised otherwise.

Fiji’s image is being meticulously rebuilt to add another layer of safety, security and preparedness for when borders reopen.
Destination Fiji continues to put in the hard work to ensure that Fiji remains an attractive destination that is planning its eventual safe reopening.

Marketing Fiji and competing with the rest of the world has never been simple, but marketing in the post COVID world has taken this to new complicated heights.

We must remain a vibrant, exciting holiday destination that can still appeal to our core markets and quintessential family segments while staying abreast of new trends and changing travel habits.

Adapting to understand and deliver conservational sustainability options, adventure and experiential travel while ensuring we can still deliver the expectations of younger travellers who will demand seamless connectivity, must now be integrated with
stronger messages of safety and security from an invisible virus that has the potential to kill thousands. It is a huge task for Tourism Fiji.

There is still much to do in terms of preparedness which is why a whole lot of consultation and discussion has been taking place between tourism stakeholders, Government bodies and agencies, non-government organisations and training institutions.

Safety first as always, with all the connotations of safety our new post COVID world demands before we are ready to meet and greet a whole new, changed world of travellers.

Helping one another achieve a higher level of safety and preparation should be everyone’s business. The tourism industry is collaborating closely with relevant Ministries to offer support in the logistics for the vaccine roll out if required.

Moving over 800,000 people around Fiji requires organisation, project and event management skills, access to transportation and communication services. We just happen to have that exact experience and those very skills in our toolkit.

And we know how to do this safely too.

By: Fantasha Lockington – CEO, FHTA (Published in the Fiji Times on 18 February 2021)

SPTO Launches Job Portal To Assist Former Tourism Workers

SPTO Launches Job Portal To Assist Former Tourism Workers

SPTO 19 February 2021 – In response to the widespread and significant impacts of COVID-19 on the Pacific tourism industry, The Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) has launched SPTO Jobslink. The initiative aims to bridge the gap between unemployed tourism workers and employers throughout the region, via a free and easy-to-use website.

The SPTO Jobslink website is part of the COVID-19 response support programme under the New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZMFAT) and SPTO partnership, formalized in October 2020.

Speaking at the launch event, SPTO Chief Executive, Christopher Cocker, highlighted the importance of this initiative under the current circumstances.

“COVID-19 has delivered an unprecedented blow to the Pacific tourism industry and unfortunately the impacts will be long-term. Through our partnership with NZMFAT we are very excited to be able to provide support for tourism workers”.

“The SPTO Jobslink website will connect job seekers, formerly employed by the tourism sector, with new opportunities. Employers who register with SPTO Jobslink will not only be assisting those truly in need of work but will also be gaining highly experienced and qualified individuals”, he said.

The SPTO Jobslink website was developed by Pacific BedBank and can be accessed via the following link – SPTO Jobs Link Pacific – Pacific Recruitment & Employment Opportunities

The 50 Most Romantic Hotels In The World

The 50 Most Romantic Hotels In The World

Big 7 Travel 14 February 2021 – Romance Concierges, private island villas, outdoor bathtubs and candelit dinners – we’re highlighting the hotels you’ll want to book well in advance for next year’s special moments.

Even if you’re celebrating with your loved one from the comfort and safety of your own home this year, you can still dream about where to spend a night or two before 2021 is out. These are the places where you’ll fall in love all over again.

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Aviation has headed back to the 1930s; the world could face a similar historic reset

Aviation has headed back to the 1930s; the world could face a similar historic reset

A massive downturn expected earlier to last just a few months has turned into something quite different and even now, we still don’t know just how different it will be. But what’s now clearly apparent is that the now certain extended delay entirely changes the outlook for the industry.

There has been much talk about aviation losing 30 to 40 years of development in terms of passenger traffic, like a trip back to the 1970s, with its reduced traffic levels, the prospect of more active government intervention, smaller networks and higher prices.

But, CAPA – Centre for Aviation founder and chairman emeritus, Peter Harbison warned in Sep-2020 as we remember aviation in the 1930s that the ongoing public health crisis has sent us even further back to the 1930s when you consider international air travel and closed borders and a heightened risk of injury. “There are important lessons to be learned from industry and government behaviour 90 years ago,” said Mr Harbison in his editorial in the Airline Leader magazine.

WWI had spawned the multilateral Paris Convention of 1919, which established that every state had absolute sovereignty in the airspace over its territory – a response to the new aircraft that easily crossed boundaries. “That meant essentially that all borders were closed to foreign aircraft and permission became necessary even to overfly,” said Mr Harbison.

Additionally, in the early, barnstorming days of aviation, the biggest inhibitor of commercial air travel expansion was safety. “There was an uncomfortable tendency for airlines to crash, a feature that would be passengers found undesirable,” explained Mr Harbison.

In last week’s Feb-2021 edition of CAPA Live – a monthly virtual summit, offering insights, information, data and live interviews with airline CEOs and industry executives across a next-gen virtual event platform – Mr Harbison reiterated the travel and aviation industries that emerge from this pandemic will look vastly different than it did before the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Preparing for the post-Covid world

Preparing for the post-Covid world

Corporate Travel Community 10 February 2021 – People’s attitudes and behaviours have shifted during months of lockdown and now over a year of a pandemic, and these changes are likely to continue for some time. But what are the implications of these changes for the travel industry? University of Melbourne consumer psychologist Dr Brent Coker noted that when an industry “wakes up again, what tends to happen is that all the brands start scrambling for the consumers”, leading to price competition.

Speaking at the Jan-2021 edition of CAPA Live – a monthly virtual summit, offering insights, information, data and live interviews with airline CEOs and industry executives across a next-gen virtual event platform – Dr Coker said: “It’s the opposite of marketing, where we want to build our services and our offerings and our value based on premium-ness so that we can extract more profit out of consumers. Then, in the long term, we start focussing on loyalty”.

In his presentation, he acknowledged that during the Great Depression, “we saw a whole generation of penny pinchers” noting that it is “likely we might see this again with the so-called ‘COVID’ generation”. He added: “We will likely see what we call a rubber band effect’ towards consumption.

There is also a recognition that returning consumers will be more concerned about their health, hygiene during travel and also more aware of the environmental impact of their journey. Sustainability will become even more important in this emerging world.

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Survivor Crew Returning To Fiji, Shooting To Begin Soon

Survivor Crew Returning To Fiji, Shooting To Begin Soon

With the news that Australian Survivor is to begin filming in Queensland in the coming months, Survivor US is also looking to resume production, as members of the crew are set to arrive in Fiji in the coming days.

As previously reported on Inside Survivor, cast and crew will not be allowed to board their plane without proof of a negative COVID-19 test and must enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Fiji.

Inside Survivor sources tell us that the cast for season 41 is expected to depart for Fiji in March, with filming expected to begin in April. The production team, which is comprised of people from all over the world, will start arriving in Fiji in groups over the coming days and weeks.

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International Travel Awards, Spa Awards, Dining Awards 2021 Nominations are Open

International Travel Awards, Spa Awards, Dining Awards 2021 Nominations are Open

Visit https://internationaltravelawards.org/ to register or enter your hotel, tourism board, attractions, theme parks and travel companies for International Travel Awards 2021.

The International Travel Awards is one of the most prestigious awards for the tourism and hospitality industry in the world. The Award is organized every year by KSA Tourism Marketing and aims to recognize the excellent performers in the tourism and hospitality industry around the world.

Nominees are invited to join the Year 2021 award program. The award categories are created carefully to suit each and every business vertical in the tourism industry. The eligible nominees are from Hospitality industry such as Hotels, Resorts, Villas, Service apartments, Travel companies such as DMCs, Tour Operators and Travel Agents, Airlines, Tourism Boards, Attractions, Theme Parks, Water Parks & other categories in the tourism industry.

The year 2021 is getting bigger and better. Yes, KSA Tourism marketing has planned to host 3 awards on a single stage. International Dining Awards 2021 and International Spa Awards 2021 join together with International Travel awards 2021 to make the biggest tourism event of the year 2021.

The award program offers a great platform for the nominees to promote their brand globally through various channels such as PR, Media, Social Media, Online news portals & etc.

The nominations for the International Travel Awards 2021 are now open for all six regions Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa, America, and Oceania. This year’s Award will combine 3 awards: International Travel Awards, International Dining Awards, and International Spa Awards. Over 100,000 international travels and professionals from the tourism industry will vote to select the winners.

International Dining Awards 2021 is crafted to recognise & reward the best service providers in the restaurant & food industry around the world. The nominees are from individual restaurants, multi-country restaurant chains, Hotel restaurants and any companies offering services in the restaurant and food industry around the world. Visit http://internationaldiningawards.com/ to register your restaurant.

International Spa Awards 2021 is designed to identify the best performers in the Wellness and Spa industry and reward them to promote their spa brand globally to the next great heights. The nominees are from individual spa and wellness centres, Hotel Spa, Spa Chain around the world. Visit https://internationalspaawards.com/ to register your Hotel spa or resort spa for international spa awards 2021.

Every year 2,000+ tourism and hospitality industry companies from 110+ countries take part in the Award to compete in more than 150 categories of Award. All the nominees receive ample opportunities to promote their tourism brand to the next level.

Jury Team
The dedicated team of Jury comes from a wide range of tourism backgrounds with each bringing their skill, enthusiasm, and experience to select, and showcase the participants on the international level.

The Jury team reviews each nomination, understands their USP and makes sure that the right company is chosen as a winner every year.

The jury team for the Awards will comprise 35% of the team from Hospitality, 18% from the Tourism Board, 14% from Media and PR, 11% from Tourism Associations, 10% from Corporates related to the travel and tourism industry, 9% from Tour Operators, and 3% from leading Travel Companies across the world.

Nominee Benefits
Nominated organizations will get promotions on social media platforms of International Travel Awards.
Organizations will get an opportunity to submit PR about their organization in the News section of the International Travel Awards and get a chance to create a strong branding among more than 50,000 travel trade professionals across the globe.
All the nominations will be assigned to a key account manager to help them reach the winning circle.
The company will also get a chance to feature in the nomination section of the official Awards Website.
During the gala event, Winners will be eligible to receive the winning package such as winner badge, winner certificate, a dedicated announcement video and lot more. Winners of the awards will receive huge recognition, branding, and marketing opportunities across the world.

A few of the nominees from the 2020 Awards are Banyan Tree, Visit Maldives ( Tourism Board), The Kempinski, Hilton, Four Seasons, Fairmont, Shangri La, Atlantis the palm, Vivanta, The Chedi, Yas Water World, Viceroy Bali, Sentosa, Warner Bros Abu Dhabi, Hanging Gardens of Bali, Swissotel, Marriott, Radisson Blu, COMO Maldives, Dark Sky Portugal, Bayat Hotels, Le Grand Bellevue, Four Points by Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, Doubletree by Hilton, The Westin Ubud, So Sofitel.

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Pacific island nations turn to Beijing-backed AIIB as pandemic sinks economies

Pacific island nations turn to Beijing-backed AIIB as pandemic sinks economies

Reuters 15 February 2021 – Pacific island nations are turning to the China-backed AIIB development bank to plug funding gaps in their pandemic-ravaged budgets after exhausting financing options from traditional western partners, stoking fears the region is becoming more dependent on Beijing.

The Cook Islands, a tiny country of around 20,000 people in the South Pacific, turned to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) late last year after a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a grant from close ally New Zealand fell short, two sources with knowledge of the talks said.

The US$20 million loan to the Cook Islands was the AIIB’s second to a strained Pacific economy in the last few months, after Fiji secured a US$50 million facility, signalling its arrival in the Pacific region.

The multilateral lender said the loans to Fiji and Cook Islands were co-financed with the U.S. and Japanese-led ADB.

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Re-opening the Pacific: a phased approach to resuming international travel

Re-opening the Pacific: a phased approach to resuming international travel

Devpolicy Blog 15 February 2021 – Across the world – including here in the Pacific region – countries are now beginning to look at how to ease travel restrictions that were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. As vaccines roll out, international travel begins to resume between Australia and New Zealand and discussions of a ‘Pacific Bubble’ continue to be floated, it is time to consider how and when the region could reopen.

The stakes are high. The travel restrictions that have been in place across the Pacific have been effective, sparing the region from larger coronavirus outbreaks. Continuing to avoid outbreaks will continue to be essential for the region, particularly given relatively weak health systems and high rates of pre-existing health conditions among Pacific populations, any large outbreaks could have devastating implications.

Yet there’s no escaping that the economic impacts of the pandemic have already been heavily felt across the region. World Bank economic modelling indicates that all Pacific economies are expected to have contracted in 2020, particularly those reliant on tourism – such as Fiji, which is facing an expected baseline reduction in GDP of around 19% in 2020.

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Tourism Talanoa: Our Sustainability

Tourism Talanoa: Our Sustainability

FHTA, 11 February 2021 – Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

And so, change we must, and we shall.

The human toll on the environment has come into focus in recent times thanks to the current health situation around the world. The comes as improvements in air quality and pollution have been observed while the world has been on pause, from blue skies in Delhi to clear waterways in Venice.

The global lockdown caused a decline in transport use, electricity demand, and industry activity, in turn leading to an 8% forecast reduction in CO2 emissions in 2020, the largest fall since the Second World War.

Moreover, for the first time in history, US oil prices went negative in April 2020; with global oil demand forecast to drop by 9% with consumption at 2012 levels. During its nationwide quarantine, China experienced a 40% year on year drop in nitrogen dioxide in January and February, equating to removing 190,000 cars; as well as an 11.4% increase in “good air quality days across 337 cities.

Yet, despite the clear skies and clean air, the negative impacts of having travel come to a standstill cannot be underestimated. Indeed, there have been devastating social, economic, and environmental impacts resulting from the absence of visitors during COVID-19.

For instance, there has been an increase in illegal fishing and poaching in reserves as people are trying to survive and provide for their families have lost their livelihoods. In effect, sustainable tourism plays a key role in sustaining and preserving natural habitats and protected areas, with research suggesting that wildlife tourism contributed $344 billion to the global economy in 2018.

A renewed interest in environmentally conscious travel, especially in eco-tourism areas, is expected to be the main driving force for the travellers of the near-future. These same visitors will also emphasize holidays and destinations to reduce their environmental footprint and that includes the use of water and energy. It will also include the reduction of waste creation and its responsible disposal.

According to a Publicis Sapient survey, 58% of respondents said they are thinking more about the environment and sustainability now compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic began. As travellers increasingly demand the greening of tourism and an alignment with their values, there is an opportunity to recognise companies and destinations on their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance.

A recent study from hotel room offer platform Hoo found that 50% of people surveyed would opt for a destination with better air quality, even if it meant travelling for longer. More notable is that 48% of the total respondents stated that they would pay more money to travel to that destination.

Would that apply to even our little island paradise Fiji, in the middle of the South Pacific?

Yes, indeed. If these travellers act on their intentions when borders open, we could use our clean air quality as a selling point to guests from these faraway lands.

Everyone has seen how the tourism sector around the world has been severely impacted, seemingly overnight. Many of our tourism businesses were forced to close temporarily, often, unfortunately, escalating into permanent closures.

Sustainability also involves economic growth and whether it can remain viable, continue to grow or decline because the industries the economy relied on were not themselves resilient enough to survive a major crisis like COVID.

To recover faster, experience has shown the importance of a globally coordinated approach with public-private cooperation, the need to enhance the current seamless travel experience, enacting global protocols for health & hygiene, to rebuild the trust of travellers and embracing the acceleration of technological transformations.

Fiji’s tourism industry is making use of this opportunity to come together and enhance our collective approach to ensure the sustainability of the industry, with all the experience, garnered over the past year.

While some resilient businesses remained open, they still only saw limited activity and even this was experienced in sporadic bursts over long weekends, school and national holidays.

Fiji’s Care Fiji Commitment (CFC) has now gained recognition from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and it is, therefore, pleasing to see that the combined efforts of Tourism Fiji and the Fiji Hotel & Tourism Association (FHTA), that this recognition now means that our tourism operators who have made the Care Fiji Commitment are now able to access both the CFC branding tools and the globally recognised WTTC ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.

While FHTA’s assistance and support of the CFC have been usually in the background, it has been critical to ensuring that industry practices were correctly aligned to the Fijian Government’s COVID-19 Safe Guidelines for tourism businesses and that the Action Plans developed were applicable, practical and enforceable.

For tourism businesses to participate in the programme, they must nominate a Wellness Ambassador, undertake extensive training on COVID-19 safe best practices and develop a comprehensive action plan that gets tested to confirm alignment.
There is clearly a collective commitment from the industry to protect our tourism staff, our communities, as well as build the confidence and safety of our visitors when they return.

Simultaneously, the industry is also actively pursuing its own sustainability and survival because it will not be sufficient to simply survive the COVID crisis.

It is equally critical that the industry emerges out of it ready to embrace the new normal in terms of safety protocols and to remain at its highest standards for compliance, service, and worldwide competitiveness. Additionally, it must also survive to be marketable as a visitor attraction, accommodation, activity, service provider and destination.

Consider therefore that many affected businesses having reviewed its cost structure at minimal operational status, reduced its workforce, limited its outsourcing, ensured it is incorporating what reduced tax incentives have been offered and reduced its rates to be attractive to the domestic market; must still pay all the annually required licencing, registration and regulatory compliance fees if they want to remain in business legally.

Because there are no across the board discounts for fees and licenses, FHTA and the Society of Travel Associates in Fiji (SOFTA) are meeting with government agencies to share information on the status of the industry and its need to remain sustainable, fully compliant and primed and ready for when borders reopen.

To be ready to meet the pent-up demand for international travel to destinations like Fiji that offer many of the sustainable tourism focused activities, community living, accommodation options and pristine environments that go hand in hand with cleaner air and healthy marine ecosystems; the industry needs support now to stay alive and in prime condition.

While only a few of our hotel properties are franchise-based, they collectively make up the larger inventory holders and usually employ larger numbers. However, far more are locally owned and are part of Fiji’s usually vibrant SME landscape that has been effectively hibernated for now, pending the restart of international travel.

The collective impact on small businesses that emerge because of tourism’s demand, the creation of wide-ranging entrepreneurship, increased supply lines and the resulting opportunities for women, youth and informal workers cannot be ignored and will quite naturally come back again.

In effect, women account for 54% of employment in the sector, compared to 39% for the global economy, and employs almost twice as many youths as in other sectors. Our tourism sector also contributes significantly to local surrounding communities, supporting employment and income generation, local resource preservation and access to quality infrastructure.

A sustainable and balanced industry can give 100,000 people their jobs back and a substantially slowed economy a much-needed kick start.

To really appreciate the impact, keep in mind that 100,000 people each have at least 5 people they in turn support.

We must support the industry now to be able to survive these next few months, even as we have dodged, ducked and waded through the last four storms and counting.

By: Fantasha Lockington – CEO, FHTA (Published in the Fiji Times on 11 February 2021)

Fiji Airways extends use of flight credits to end of 2022

Fiji Airways extends use of flight credits to end of 2022

Fiji Airways 9 February 2021 – Fiji Airways is offering greater flexibility to customers holding flight credits by extending validity up to 31st December 2022. The credits are for cancelled flights resulting from COVID-19 enforced border closures from 19th March last year. Scheduled commercial flights on the airline’s international network suspended in March continue while border restrictions remain in place at Fiji Airways’ destinations.

Mr Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways Managing Director & CEO said: “This extension offers greater peace of mind to customers holding credit with Fiji Airways given the prolonged border closures. Since the beginning of the pandemic, our objective has been to ensure that our customers’ do not lose the bookings they have made with us. The extension for use of flight credits by another 12 months will allow them to choose another travel time that suits their circumstances and requirements. We will continuously review this policy and make further adjustments if required.”

Mr Viljoen added: “We are working tirelessly to ensure we are ready to return to the skies and welcome back customers are soon as border restrictions ease and travel can resume safely.”

Fiji Airways customers can utilise their flight credits anywhere on the airline’s network within the validity period (until 31 December 2022). Details and associated conditions are available on the airline’s Travel Ready Hub.

Marriott Resort and The Westin Resort Introduces ‘Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy’

Marriott Resort and The Westin Resort Introduces ‘Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy’

Nadi 5 February 2021 – Against the backdrop of the global pandemic, and with travellers increasingly aspiring to make a positive impact on the communities they visit whether locally or abroad, Marriott International, Fiji Resorts introduces Community Engagement and Marine Conservation, as part of Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy. Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay and The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa joins 14 other Marriott International properties across the Asia-Pacific as part of the program’s pilot launch. Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy is a program offering meaningful travel across the Asia-Pacific, aiming to create opportunities for guests forge first-hand connections with local communities and the environment during their stay, promoting both cultural understanding and positive change.

Nestled between the Heineken House Restaurant and Denarau Island Golf Course lies Denarau’s only farm, an organic 4-hectare oasis of fresh Fijian produce that serves as the heart of our Marriott International, Sheraton and Westin Resorts. Guests are invited to participate in a number of hands-on activities to learn more about organic farming and the benefits for local consumption, carbon footprint and the local economy. Some of these activities are farm tours, vegetable harvesting, and a farm to fork experience. The farm provides a growing platform to minimize our need to import whilst displaying the bounty of Fijian produce to guests, associates and local farmers alike. The projects also aim to provide training for local farmers to adopt the skills of organic farming.

The Marriott International for Mangroves, Rivers and Reefs works to fund projects that will sustain, manage and protect Fiji’s important marine ecosystem in partnership with The Ministry of Fisheries, Fiji. As a part of the experience, guests are invited to part take in scheduled projects such as mangrove and coral planting, giant clam reseeding and to establish a turtle sanctuary at the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay. Guests are offered an option to donate FJ$5 per room upon check-out to the room bill. The donations will be directed to fund projects available throughout the year.

“One of the growing trends we’re observing is how conscious people are of their personal impact on the environment and the destinations they visit said, Neeraj Chadha, Multi-Property Vice President, Fiji & Samoa – Marriott International. Environmental Protection, Community Engagement and Marine Conservation experiences offered at our Denarau and Momi Bay property provide an excellent opportunity for our guests to connect with the local communities and nature, allowing them to give back while staying with us. We are excited to launch the three main experience pillars as part of Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy and look forward to bringing truly meaningful travel to our guests at home, or from abroad once international travel resumes. Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy features 15 meaningful experiences across three distinct pillars environmental protection, community engagement and marine conservation.

For more information on Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy, please visit www.marriottbonvoyasia.com/goodtravel