The luxury Six Senses Fiji opened on Saturday 14 April, but it already had a tick of approval from one of the Kiwi trade’s leading South Pacfic specialists before it opened.
Trade and media from around the world were due to attend the Fiji Tourism Expo (FTE) last week and and many of them would have had site inspections out at Six Senses – the latest addition to choices on Malolo Island.
Tourism Fiji was concentrating on getting the last international trade buyers out of the country yesterday following the ‘dicult decision’ to cancel this week’s Fijian Tourism Expo.
At the time of going to press Tourism Fiji was not in a position to talk about any alternative events or future famils to make up ground from the cancellation.
South Sea Cruises has released details of Malamala Beach Club, Fiji’s menus, confirmed prices and industry rates. Set to welcome guests from 14 August, the beach club is 25 minutes from Port Denarau and offers snorkelling in a surrounding reef, complimentary non-motorised water sports, beachside cabanas with butler service, and an à la carte menu from light bites to Pacific inspired meals and shared platters.
Solomon Airlines is teaming up with Dive Munda and the Agnes Gateway Hotel in Munda to offer a value-added eight-night package with return flights to Munda ex-Brisbane.
Operating via Honiara on Saturdays and returning on Sundays, the package includes all accommodation at the Agnes Gateway Hotel and 12 dives with Dive Munda.
A group of agents visiting Tahiti on a recent famil visited Huahine, the garden island for two nights.
‘We had the opportunity to stay at Le Relais Mahana and Le Maitai Lapita and visiting the third hotel on the island Royal Huahine and a site inspection of a pension Fare Maeva Huahine. During an island tour we visited the
Plantation Island Resort has just launched a new day trip product, giving day visitors the opportunity to experience the resort for themselves.
The cost of a Plantation Island Resort Day Trip is F$140 per adult / F$70 per child, with guests departing Port Denarau at 10:30 am and returning at 4:50 pm.
Air Tahiti Nui has revealed its line up of events taking place in the Islands of Tahiti this year.
Air Tahiti Nui regional manager Australia New Zealand Alan Roman, says there is something for everyone in the 2018 Tahiti calendar.
Christmas is well and truly over, but Santa hasn’t left Radisson Blu Resort yet. He’s been visiting schools around Nadi, courtesy of the Adopt a School movement and Responsible Business team.
Children from Champs on Wheels, Mulomulo Secondary School, Sabeto College and Nadi District Kindergarten have all been surprised by Santa over the past few weeks.
Seabreeze Resort in Samoa has won ‘Best Deluxe Accommodation’ for the second year at the recent 2018 Samoan Tourism Excellence Awards.
The awards, which began in 2017, are voted on by visitors through guest surveys distributed at Faleolo Airport, Apia and in Apia town by the Samoa Tourism Authority.
From now to Sunday 11 February, Excite Holidays and Tourism Fiji is showcasing all Fiji has to offer to agents in a 10-page guide.
From exploring traditional sites to cooking authentic Fijian dishes, mixing with the locals at markets, swimming in waterfalls and even pushing the fear factor by swimming with reef sharks, the curated destination guide has
Ikurangi is an award-winning eco-retreat in the Cook Islands, and it’s up for sale.
Located in Matavera, Rarotonga, it’s on the market for $789,000 and includes four high-spec luxury safari tents, two spacious studio ‘Are’s’, a swimming pool, a reception/housekeeping space and an additional ‘Are’ which could serve as another room or managers residence.
Taveuni Palms Resort, Fiji Islands has won three awards at the World Luxury Hotel Awards held recently at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz in Switzerland.
The awards include winning best Luxury Private Villa in Fiji; best Luxury Romantic Villa in Fiji and best Luxury Private Pool Villa in the South Pacific/Oceania.
The To Sua Ocean Trench on the island of Upolu remains a top destination for visitors to Samoa, as proven by the recent Samoa Tourism and Samoa Airways famil that took place in November.
A group of media explored both Upolu and Savaii islands, beginning with STA representative Poinsettia (Tia) Taefu taking the group to Coconuts Beach Resort, which would host the first two nights accommodation.
Taefu says the purpose of the famil was to showcase the natural, diverse beauty of Samoa and drive more tourism in even in the low season.
‘People need to be aware that Samoa is a great choice for a Pacific Island holiday and getting the industry out here to explore it is really important,’ she says.
Day two of the famil saw the group head out on a Snorkel & Turtle Tour with Manoa Tours, followed by a visit to Sopo’aga Falls, located in Lotofaga village.
On day three, the group headed to the popular To Sua Ocean Trench, a highlight for visitors to Samoa.
‘The trench remains one of the most popular spots on Upolu. Travellers always put it high on their to do list when they come here,’ Taefu says. ‘It is probably one of the most well-known spots in Samoa.’
Coconuts Beach Resort’s spa is undergoing a complete refurbishment, expected to be completed by March 2018.
The resort has been open since 1990, which makes it one of the first resorts in Samoa that is still in operation today. It has been renovated and refurbished numerous times over the years. It boasts the only overwater fales in Samoa.
‘Almost everything in the spa is being renovated,’ says Coconuts Beach Resort owner Brian Rose. ‘About the only things being kept are the walls and the mini gecko pool. It is being enlarged, as well as rearranged. It will have a new look, and when finished we will have new furnishings, equipment, etc. We even plan to offer mud baths in custom stone tubs,’ he explains.
Rose says Samoa is somewhat ‘off the radar’ of the average international traveller, which ‘is nice’ because it means the island is usually not overrun with tourists.
‘The typical hard sell commercialism, which plagues many other destinations, can also be quite distasteful to visitors,’ he explains. ‘The off-season advantages (in Samoa), such as even fewer tourists and lower hotel room rates, means visitors can experience that real island getaway.
‘Samoa is the island to visit, because of the natural disposition of the Samoan people and the strong ties that they maintain with their original ancient culture,’ Rose adds.
The difference between Samoa and its other Pacific Island neighbours is that Samoa is still ‘raw and unfiltered’, according to Manoa Snorkelling’s Neil Lumsden.
Hawaiian-born Lumsden has been living in Samoa for 15 years and runs Manoa Snorkelling, Surfing and Hiking Tours, putting on several tours from different parts of Upolu.
‘Tourism should grow organically, supply shouldn’t outgrow demand,’ he says.
‘There are so many parts of Samoa that are less known to tourists and that are still being discovered, and we can help travellers discover this whether it be through snorkelling, hiking or surfing.’
Lumsden says because tourism is still growing throughout Samoa, a lot of the tourism companies work together allowing them to offer several different types of product and help tourists get in touch with the right guide for what they are after.
The Samoa Airways and Samoa Tourism media famil that finished up this week took part in a snorkelling with the turtles tour right from their accommodation at Coconuts Beach Club. They were able to see the only vegetarian turtles in the world as well as many other sea life.
Lumsden states this as one of the best areas in Upolu because swimming and snorkelling are safe, as well as being able to surf off the reef for more advanced surfers, so it caters to everyone.
Sustainability and quality are two key focuses in Tourism Fiji’s plan for future tourism growth. With tourism a major income earner for the country, ensuring a structured tourism product growth is vital for both visitors and locals.
Tourism Fiji regional manager NZ Sonya Lawson says Fiji is a proud nation and is well aware that its natural resources are not only valuable tourist attractions but must also be honoured and protected.
‘This is reflected in the growing number of sustainable tourism initiatives in place throughout Fiji including mangrove and reef revitalisation, turtle releasing and growing of local organic produce for hotels and resort restaurants,’ she says.
Captain Cook Cruises Fiji has launched an environmental initiative onboard the MV Reef Endeavour to help stop plastic pollution in remote Fiji and look after and sustain the environment.
The Ocean Ambassador initiative focuses on cleaning up the plastic waste from the remote beaches and villages visited on Captain Cook Cruises three, four, seven and eleven-night cruises.
The industry needs to work together – tourism, sports, and agriculture – to help promote Samoa, says Jade Toomalatai, Samoa Tourism Authority.
‘While some already do, more accommodation providers need to consider packages or lowering rates outside of the busy season to help fill rooms in the off season,’ she says.
‘If not, tourists will go to other Pacific Islands, which may have more money to promote and also to discount rates.’
Most tourists to Samoa say they wish they had come to the island of Savaii first, rather than the more popular Upolu, according to Kelly Walker, manager of Savaii Lagoon Resort.
Walker says ninety percent of the resort’s business comes from New Zealand, it’s popular with families because of the self-catering kitchens and safe beach, as well as the 60s+ market because of the peaceful location.
‘Many people come for a month and have been doing so for the last 10 years,’ she says.
Fiji’s Nanuku Auberge Resort has a new round of special stay packages giving 20% off to guests choosing to stay between three to six nights or a 30% discount for those choosing to stay seven nights or longer.
Both offers have been value added to include a choice from two bonus family-oriented activity options for two adults and two children with children 12 years and under staying, playing and eating for free.
The ‘family-time’ bonus includes a guided Food Safari visiting local markets and gathering fresh local produce – crabs, prawns, fruit and vegetables – which the resort’s chef will prepare for their dinner.
Totoka Hair and Make Up is aiming to handle about 500 weddings a year as well as a consistent number of film and TV bookings, says director Leanne Goff.
The company is also set to offer a range of new pre-wedding pamper packages for brides next year.
A relative newcomer to the hair and make up industry in Fiji, Totoka Hair & Make Up has just completed its third successful year in business and has arguably become the busiest and most sought after hair and make up business in Fiji.
Agents that book clients to stay at Seabreeze Resort Samoa between 1 November 2017 and 31 March 2019 can enter the draw to win a fantastic holiday of a lifetime to Seabreeze.
The incentive runs until 14 May 2018 and for every booking made travel agents earn three entries and wholesalers earn one entry into the holiday draw.
Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort is making some changes in a bid to set itself apart from other beachfront resorts in Samoa, as witnessed by a group of agents and wedding planners on a recent wedding-focused famil to the island last week.
Sandeep Prasad, sales office manager for Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort, says they are doing some changes across the property, in an effort to bring some traditional Samoan cultural elements into the rooms and surrounds.
‘We are working hard on setting our property apart form our competitors. Samoan art and craft is very beautiful; we feel other properties don’t take advantage of that.
Fiji’s newest taste of island life close to Denarau has impressed travel product and marketing managers who visited the destination for Fiji Day this week.
Malamala Beach Club opened a few months ago but this was the first time Kiwi trade have had the opportunity to check it out in action.
‘Most Kiwis want an outer island experience but they book Denarau,’ says Rachel Mancini, marketing and product, House of Travel.
The community of Laamu recently came together on the island of Gan for the second ever Laamu Turtle Festival.
This year's theme was once again keeping turtles in Laamu Safe and Protected, aiming to raise awareness about the importance of sea turtles and providing a platform for community engagement about greater marine
Tourism Fiji says its campaign to attract young and adventurous travellers to Fiji is off to a flying start.
In its first two weeks, the social media-based campaign fronted by Kiwi adventurer and influencer Logan Dodds reached 1.3 million Kiwi 18-29-year-olds, attracting plenty of positive engagement and reactions.
Vanuatu Tourism Office and Air Vanuatu say that international tourism is unlikely to be affected by the volcanic activity on Ambae Island.
In a statement NF says: ‘Whilst not wishing to make light of the situation in Ambae, currently, approximately 8000 people have been evacuated from the eastern side of the island as volcanic ash is contaminating the water supplies.
‘The alert is on a relatively confined basis and this is not currently affecting air services either to Ambae itself or the rest of the Air Vanuatu network.’
New Caledonia Tourism (NCT) is singing a different tune with the launch of a new destination marketing campaign, ‘Sounds of New Caledonia’, in collaboration with Triple J feature artists and Laneway Festival faves, Crooked Colours.
Agents were keen to hear about the new look Tropica Island Resort when luxury and couples orientated Fiji properties toured the country last week. Gai Keniry, director of sales at Tropica, says the resort has seven new sanctuary pool suites and all 24 rooms at the resort now have private outdoor showers.
The adults only Seabreeze Resort Samoa has launched stay/pay deals and bonuses, with savings of over NZ$1000 per couple. Deals are on sale until 30 September 2017, valid for travel from 1 October to 30 April 2018 and available only through travel agents.
A successful Vanuatu Tok Tok wrapped up on Friday night with an over-riding feeling that the destination is making positive strides. According to Allan Kalfabun, Vanuatu Tourism Office, the feedback was that meetings during the tourism forum were valuable for buyers and sellers. He says a frequent comment was that tourism in Vanuatu is on the rise from many countries. Samantha Stock, Sydney Expedia’s Pacic Islands area manager says the online travel agency has seen over 40% growth in room nights year to date as of 22 August. ‘The biggest growth year on year we have seen is from the USA, NZ, UK, Germany and Japan.’ New Zealand High Commissioner Georgina Roberts says tourism is a ‘jewel’ for Vanuatu and she sees a significant development opportunity for the island nation. The next 12 months will see further developments start at Bauereld Airport and continue for the next four years, in a move to address some of the airport issues and grow the capacity to bring even more tourists to Vanuatu’s 68 islands.
This year’s Tok Tok was one of the most crucial in the event’s history, according to the destination’s travel industry leaders.
Following on from flight cancellations blamed on the state of the airport and lingering memories of Cyclone Pam, tourism spokespeople say it is more important than ever to get a positive message through to the trade and consumers.
Agents were treated to a glimpse of what Vanuatu has to offer before Tok Tok kicked off on Thursday last week. Agents headed off with Evergreen Vanuatu, a leading indigenous inbound tour operator that covers Vanuatu’s major tourist islands. As the largest indigenous tour operator in Vanuatu, Evergreen has the knowledge on the inside spots to see throughout Vanuatu as well as local custom and culture.
The day tour had four stops – first at a village where the locals explained their customs and traditions, how they lived off the land and why nature is so important. Next stop was Blue Lagoon, which shows off the blue waters
Fiji’s first private island resort, Toberua, is celebrating 50 years of operation and is kick starting birthday festivities. Clients and 35 friends could hire this entire private island for five nights for NZ$50,000. For NZ$278 per person per night, exclusive hire of the island includes; a choice of sixteen private bures that hug the shoreline with uninterrupted views of the ocean, return boat transfers, all meals daily consisting of American cooked breakfast; three course lunch; four course dinner and use of non-motorised watersports to adventure daily.
The developing Pacific tourism destination of Tonga is a good sell for agents who have clients seeking alternatives to more frequently visited islands, say wholesale agents who have just returned from a famil there. ‘When agents ring and say that clients want something different, that’s when I would ask if they have thought of Tonga,’ says Nicole Chitty, of House of Travel product.
Incentive operators, corporate travel agents and meeting planners have been urged to consider New Caledonia if they are looking for somewhere different to recommend to clients. New Caledonia Tourism hosted key players on the business tourism side of the trade to lunch at Maison Vauron, Auckland on Friday and promoted both the ‘France in the Pacific’ appeal of Noumea and the various attractions beyond the city.
The showcasing of new resorts, a revitalised format and the addition of Queenstown to the itinerary are highlights of Tourism Fiji’s upcoming Luxury & Couples roadshow next month. Product on show includes the new adults only addition to Paradise Cove Resort in the Yasawa Islands, the recently opened Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay with its overwater bures and Tropica Island Resort’s refurbishment.
Radisson Blu Resort Fiji officially celebrated 10 years of operations in June with a number of events to thank staff, guests, owners and industry partners. Resort staff were treated to an afternoon tea at the Resort’s Captain’s Ballroom where all were thanked for their dedication and loyalty to the Radisson Blu Resort Fiji’s achievements over its 10 years of operations.
Pitcairn Islands Tourism has a new tour programme for 2018. The 18 night /19 day tour includes a stopover in Tahiti, the ocean voyage to Pitcairn, and 11 days on the island with a range of activities and all meals included. Announcing the launch, Pitcairn Islands Tourism marketing representative, Richard Hankin, says demand for visiting Pitcairn has increased over the past few years. ‘We want to highlight all Pitcairn has to offer.’
The new Matavai Convention Centre Niue was opened yesterday by New Zealand Prime Minister, Bill English, and Sir Toke Talagi, Premier of Niue. It aims to bring a massive boost to tourism and the economy of Niue.
The multi-million dollar centre, with capacity for up to 168 conference delegates, sits in a spectacular cliff top location at the Scenic Matavai Resort Niue.
Brendan Taylor, Scenic Hotel Group managing director, says the opening of the conference centre will act as a ‘huge enabler’ for the island’s emerging tourism industry. ‘Flow-on benefits from this high yielding sector will likely filter throughout the island’s economy.’
‘Flow-on benefits from this high yielding sector will likely filter throughout the island’s economy.’
Fiji’s small, independent hotels are reminding agents they still have plenty to offer clients who are not necessarily looking for high end resort accommodation.
Theresa Singh, general manager Fiji Independent Travellers & Backpackers Association, says the organisation’s aim is to ‘reintroduce all of the little forgotten three-star properties’ in Fiji.
Singh says association members include Nadi Bay Resort, Smugglers Cove, Ratu Kini Dive Resort, The Beach House, Bounty Island, Uprising Beach Resort and more.
‘The majority are a combination of backpackers combined with private suites and sometimes apartments. They appeal to independent travellers who want good service without having to spend a lot on their accommodation. The guests also get an authentic Fijian experience.’
Singh says the ‘traditional’ style of backpacker accommodation still exists on a small scale in Fiji, with many properties looking to convert dormitories into private ensuite rooms.
‘In saying that, we get volunteer and school groups plus university students who still want that backpacker experience.’ She says all members are commissionable and are encouraged to engage with both the online and traditional trade.
‘On the other hand we are telling the trade that while we may not be big luxury properties, we are definitely offering genuine service and a real local experience.’
The travel trade can expect pricing and membership details for the new Malamala Beach Club within the next two weeks, says Wayne Deed, director of sales and marketing with South Sea Cruises.
Deed says demand for the facility, which is likely to open mid June, has come not only from the wholesale leisure sector but the incentive market – with a number of organisers already receiving pricing.
‘Malamala will be open from 10am to 6pm for visitors but then it will be available at night for private and special events.’
A new tour that allows clients to experience the Fiji outback without venturing too far from Denarau resorts has been launched at Fiji Tourism Expo (FTE).
Howard’s Highlands Tours, a first time exhibitor at FTE, pick up guests at 9am, takes them to Mt Sila for views over Nadi and visits a rural village and school.
The development of 14 new villas with private pools at First Landing Resort and Villas is already generating plenty of interest amongst travel wholesalers, says resort manager Amanda Braddock.
The increased inventory will come on line late this year and include six one-bedroom garden, six two-bedroom ocean view, a three-bedroom and a duplex. Braddock says all will have full swimming pools –‘not just a little plunge pool’.
The travel trade is being urged to talk more about Fiji’s various experiences and particularly the new offerings in the destination.
Matthew Stoeckel, Tourism Fiji’s chief executive officer, says the organisation has been carrying out consumer research and as a result will be taking a more ‘segmented’ approach to various ‘psychographics’ – such as couples, families and youth.
‘Digital forums provide opportunities to really target different markets. Take luxury for example – many people may not traditionally look at Fiji for that.’
Diving the Astrolabe Reef was a trip highlight for agents on a recent dive famil to Fiji.
Four agents experienced dive specialist resorts Beqa Lagoon Resort, located off Pacific Harbour, Matava Eco-Adventure Resort & Spa on Kadavu Island, and a night at the newly renovated Pearl Resort at Pacific Harbour.
The group’s itinerary also included a slice of culture visiting local schools and villages, as well as hiking and sea kayaking.
Tourism Fiji’s trade partnerships manager Cameron Taylor says divers are spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of diving spots at the destination.
‘We showcased some of the amazing dive locations to agents so they could bring back the expert knowledge and sell it to their clients. We will definitely look to take more dive famils in the near future,’ Taylor says.
“The shark dive is brilliant, it’s a unique selling point for Fiji and people travel from all over the world to experience it. Fiji is also the perfect place for people to learn how to dive; the water is warm, the visibility excellent and the dive product in Fiji is world class.’
Ricci Travel’s Ricci Harbuck relished the experience. ‘Diving in Fiji allows you to see a great variety of corals, fish and underwater features such as swim thrus, bommies and coral walls. From the Golden Arch in Beqa to the Cabbage corals in Tavenui, there is such great diversity. What I like is that you can bring a dive group over with varying levels of experience and have everyone dive to their comfort level.’
Ricci also loved her ‘dry land’ part of the trip. ‘The warmth and hospitality of the Fijian people is amazing. I enjoyed the village visit and lunch, the hikes to secluded waterfalls, the picnic lunch on the beach. We also sea kayaked, took advantage of the spa services at the resorts, and it was a great feeling that you could slow down and enjoy the day.’
Hana Gooch, NZ Travel Brokers Christchurch was equally enthusiastic. ‘The highlight of the trip for me was the shark dive, it was amazing, and very professionally run. I’ve never seen so many fish and I was also fortunate enough to see tiger sharks.’
New resorts, major renovations, new airport terminal, faster internet, port redevelopment and better service standards were hot topics at (STE) held at Taumeasina Island Resort in Apia recently.
Dwayne Bentley, STA, says tourism is at the forefront of people's minds in Samoa, and everyone is working to increase visitor numbers. ‘Kiwi visitor numbers for 2016 were up 8% from 2015 to around 66,000, securing their place as our biggest market. Australians we just under half that at 31,000, with American Samoa sitting third with approximately 15,000. In total we welcomed 145,000 tourists last year, a 4.4% growth from
The Loyalty Island group in New Caledonia is about to become a far more accessible holiday option for trade to sell as the destination puts its might into consolidating its product offerings.
Under a fresh united approach to sell the group, comprising of Ouvea, Lifou, Mare and Tiga islands, Loyalty Tours is to take over the management of the region’s five leading hotels.
The move is backed by Air Loyaute, which is to provide international visitors with greater freedom to fly between the islands for day trips and longer stays.
New Zealand visitors to New Caledonia have soared 7.2% year on year, the New Caledonia Tourism (NCTPS) says.
The increase follows the 25.8% growth in 2015, bringing the total growth over the last two-year period to more than 34.9%.
NCTPS has attributed the hike in visitation to strong visible campaigns in-market, which have differentiated New Caledonia from its competitors.