The high flying Fijian rugby team is helping to boost the country’s profile as a sports tourism destination and also serving as a reminder that clients should be booking for 2024 now if they are looking at specific dates around events and school holidays.
Grand Hotel and Casino Vanuatu is continuing it’s a$4.5million refurbishment, with all 74 guest rooms expected to have a new look by March-April next year.
While no major structural work is involved, the rooms will have new furniture, a fresh coat of paint, smart TVs, new headboards and lighting, plus cosmetic changes in the bathrooms.
A new luxury resort and lifestyle precinct, Vatu Talei - The Jewel, is set to open in late 2026, utilising the 10 vacant acres directly behind Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa.
The project is being undertaken by Richmond Pte Ltd, a joint venture partnership between BSP Life and Fiji Airways.
Expedia TAAP’s top two booking agents of New Caledonia Marriott Hotels this August will earn major rewards thanks to Marriott International Hotels, Aircalin, and New Caledonia Tourism.
Vanuatu Eco Tours has added two new tours to its portfolio.
The Port Vila Town Tour launched earlier this year has had a strong response, with tours operating most days. This is an ideal one or two-day tour to get an introduction to Vanuatu’s history and culture, get an orientation of Port Vila (where to go, shop etc) plus the best lookouts and sights.
Air New Zealand is supporting strong demand to Niue by providing additional capacity to the destination.
Initially this has involved upsizing the aircraft to the A321 used for the once-a-week flight for most of the period to the end of October. This provides an extra 50 seats each way.
A second Radisson Blu resort is slated to open near Nadi in the first quarter of 2026.
Radisson Blu Mirage Resort, Fiji Naisoso Island will be a 250-key resort with direct beachfront access from apartments.
Niue welcomed the first migratory Oceania humpback whales to its shores last week, marking an early start to the traditional season, which runs from July to October. During this time, pods of humpback arrive to calve and nurse their young in the sheltered sanctuary of Niue.
A guest at Le Taha’a is close enough to Bora Bora to see the sun set over the famous island. But they are also far enough away to have a completely different and far more laid back type of French Polynesian experience.
A new and easy way to earn commission on tours in Samoa has been launched this month.
Samoa Tours is a natural progression from Hawaii Tours – a call centre set up in Apia to help sell the US State.
The strength of Samoa’s bounce-back post Covid has pleasantly surprised the tourism sector in the destination, with arrival figures already back to and sometimes topping 2019-20 numbers.
The country is this week hosting the first Samoa Tourism Exchange (STE 2023) for three years, with some 35 exhibitors and 55 plus international buyers and media (including a delegation of 12 from New Zealand) taking part.
Robyn and Grant Thornley are the new owners and managers of the Savaii Lagoon Resort.
Robyn is a travel agent in New Zealand and her husband Grant is a commercial builder.
The extensive renovation of a perennial favourite in Rarotonga gives New Zealand travel advisors a fresh new product to recommend and sell.
Club Raro has reopened after two months with a complete make-over of the public areas, restaurant, lobby, bar, pathways, pool and pool surrounds to create a new guest experience.
Fiji is seeing a bounce back in enquiries from incentives and corporate groups following in the footsteps of a strong return from the leisure market.
Tourism Fiji attended the recent Destination Marketing Services (DMS) re-Connect event along with Fiji Airways and destination marketing company (DMC) Tewaka.
Thirty Silver Matai Agents visited Fiji this week, gaining first-hand knowledge and experience so they can sell the destisnation to their clients.
There were three groups, each exploring different regions of Fiji before joining another 10 Matai Silver agents for two nights at InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa and a day of learning with 25 of Tourism Fiji’s industry partners.
It is time for more New Zealanders to consider visiting French Polynesia more regularly, like they do other parts of the Pacific, rather than a one-off experience, says the general manager of Tahiti Travel Experts, Marieke Chataigner.
Chataigner is well versed in the Kiwi market, having worked as director global sales with Marriott in Auckland for six years.
Preserving the cultural experience, controlling tourism development at sustainable levels and attracting people during the shoulder and low seasons are the important issues for Tahiti Tourisme, says CEO Jean-Marc Mocellin.
Asked about numbers targeted over the next few years, Mocellin says that figure is not an important one for the destination.
Agents are being urged to look at alternatives beyond traditional hotel accommodation packages in Tahiti to overcome any current capacity shortages in the destination.
The other advice being given as the destination hosts trade from around the world this week – including a New Zealand and Australian contingent – at the Parau Parau Tahiti (PPT) trade show is to have clients book as early as possible.
Taumeasina Island Resort in Samoa has opened new deluxe Cove Villas as part of its ongoing development and plan to expand facilities to accommodate growing demand.
The three-bedroom villas are situated on the mainland, a short stroll across the causeway from the island and all offer views of the Pacific Ocean with the resort as their backdrop.
Tourism Fiji has rolled out a refreshed take on its renowned ‘happiness’ brand platform, just over a year on from borders reopening to tourists.
‘Where happiness comes naturally’ is an evolution that pays homage to Fiji’s local people, natural environments, culture and authentic experiences on offer, encouraging travellers to discover a side to Fiji they may not have known existed.
Pacific Resort Hotel Group (PRHG) has relaunched its successful Pacific Pearls Programme in 2023.
This follows the announcement that Lydia Haydon of YOU Travel was the Pacific Pearls annual achiever for 2022, registering the highest number of room nights throughout the year. Haydon’s prize is a Black Pearl necklace and seven nights accommodation at a PRHG property that she has sold during the year.
Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort has added a Sip and Paint activity, which includes a complimentary drink and canapés.
The activity is guided by local Fijian artists and involves painting on a 400mm x 300mm canvas (painting accessories provided. The activity will take place on the resort’s Reef lawn on specified days and costs F$99.
InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa hosted a wedding exhibition at the five-star property recently.
Fifteen luxury wedding planners, public relations executives, and media representatives from New Zealand, Australia and North America were flown into Fiji for an immersive destination itinerary and one-day trade show between planners and local wedding vendors.
Fiji’s South Sea Cruises is continuing to see a strong recovery across all of its products, with forward bookings in 2023 already indicating that clients need to get in quick if they have particular dates they are considering, says the company’s general manager marketing, Sonya Ridley.
The comments come as Blue Lagoon Cruises (BLC) releases its latest brochure, while agents should also look out for a new Awesome Adventures brochure soon.
A luxury three-villa property in the lagoon of Raiatea, French Polynesia is giving New Zealand agents a new option for resort island buyouts in the Pacific, says Alana Eli, sales manager New Zealand and Australia with South Pacific Management (SPM) Hotels.
Motu Nao Nao had a soft opening late 2021 and fully opened this year. The resort has quickly gained traction from the northern hemisphere and Eli says it will definitely suit a niche market here.
Optimism about forward revenue and occupancy projections trending higher is building among hotels and resorts in Samoa, following the reopening of borders to international travellers in August.
While the average occupancy rate for most was below 50% across the month of August, operators acknowledged that demand during weekends and public holidays and the domestic market continued to be strong.
The demand from clients to travel to Fiji, even for this year, has come through ‘loud and clear’ during the four-city Fiji Travel Roadshow this week, says Tourism Fiji’s regional director New Zealand, Sonya Lawson.
The roadshow has attracted a total of about 250 agents at events in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland. Lawson notes that agents came from far and wide – for example, the Christchurch event attracted trade from as far away as Invercargill and the Hamilton function included attendees from Coromandel and Tauranga.
Island Hopper Vacations has itineraries, rates and dates for its Southern Group departures in 2023.
This follows a successful recent charter that visited four islands in eight nights and resulted in enthusiastic reviews.
TEWAKA, a 100% Fijian owned and operated tourism transport and destination management services company, launched its carbon footprint offset activity with the support of Fiji’s Ministry of Forestry by planting 800 mangrove seedlings at the Natabua foreshore in Lautoka last week.
Managing director, James Sowane says offsetting the company’s carbon footprint from its fleet emissions is an ongoing and long-term commitment as part of its environmental protection strategy.
New Caledonia Tourism has put together four itineraries for trade to base suggestions on, depending on the preferences of clients.
The programmes include Cultural Explorers (13 days), Fun & Sun Seekers (five days), Relaxers / Escapers (nine days) and Excitement Seekers (nine days).
Vanuatu Tourism Office has worked with accommodation providers to collate a series of videos that show what their product is looking like.
‘We know it is a difficult time to try and get agents on famils with the industry still facing staff shortages. Having full confidence in recommending places for their clients to stay can be a real challenge,’ says Jacquie Carson, VTO’s NZ market representative.
Tourism Fij’s Fiji Roadshow will return to New Zealand in September 2022, visiting four cities.
The NTO is calling on travel sellers to save the date of the event closest to them. The roadshow will give the trade the chance to reconnect with some of Fiji’s leading tour operators and travel partners.
Niue Tourism has been busy connecting with the industry this week, celebrating the return of quarantine-free, weekly flights to Niue that started on Tuesday 28 June.
Delivering colourful baskets full of tropical fruits to key suppliers and sharing a special ‘Celebration Cake’ with Pacific Island management at Air New Zealand, were on the agenda.
Vanuatu tourism has launched a new Welkam Back to Vanuatu! campaign in New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia.
The advertising showcases Vanuatu’s tourism offering across radio, outdoor and digital and social.
After a four year hiatus, the South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) will return in 2023.
SPTE 2023 will be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, from 12-13 May, taking into consideration the Australian Tourism Exchange (30 April-5 May 2023, Gold Coast) and Tourism Rendezvous New Zealand TRENZ (9-11 May, 2023, Christchurch). SPTE will offer international travel buyers the convenience of familiarising with a wide selection of suppliers and products from the Pacific under one roof.
A boat trip on the jungle-fringed Navua River with the return journey in a tyre tube is just one aspect of a new tour presented at Fijian Tourism Expo.
The River Tubing Fiji experience also includes a visit to a remote village, a swim at a waterfall and riverside lunch.
Essence Group has revamped its transit lounge based a few minutes drive from Nadi Airport and added extra services in collaboration with other Fijian small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
Director Debra Sadranu says as well the existing lounge having a face-lift, the facility now has a business centre with a meeting room operated by mydesk.
A new tour puts the focus on a successful initiative that empower Fijian women and communities, while at the same time gives visitors an insight into an emerging coffee enterprise in the country.
Bula Coffee Fiji has been working with villages that harvest wild growing coffee for the last 10 years but only launched the Crop to Cup Coffee Tour about a month ago.
Fiji Airways is planning to promote Savusavu (on the island of Vanua Levu) and Taveuni to trade this year to help disperse New Zealand visitation beyond the tried and familiar destinations of Fiji.
Sheryn Ambler, regional GM Fiji Airways, New Zealand says the airline’s future loads from this market look strong, but one problem Kiwis have is finding accommodation in destinations such as Denarau and the Coral Coast.
Vanuatu Ecotours has added a number of new options to its portfolio as the destination looks to reopen on 1 July.
This includes a new cascades product, 25 minutes from Port Vila. Crystal Cascades is located in a rainforest setting and is private and exclusive to Vanuatu Ecotours. ‘We believe it complements other cascades products on Efate and will be accessible via a half-day and full day tour,’ says managing director Rob Macalister.
Ensuring that the range of experiences and products grow in line with expected demand is a key priority for Tourism Fiji, says chief executive officer Brent Hill.
Well known hotels around Denarau and the Coral Coast are already showing a sharp revival since Fiji reopened late last year.
Scenic Matavai Resort will initially open with around half of its capacity offering 32 resort rooms when Niue opens to visitors on 27 June.
This will comprise Deluxe rooms which opened in 2017, together with Superior Clifftop and Superior rooms. All hotel facilities will be open to guests, including the restaurant, lobby bar, pool bar, conference centre and two swimming pools. Authentic Niuean culture will continue to be the focus of the resort’s entertainment offering for evenings and be integrated into many other elements of the guest experience, such as the traditional feast night.
Tourism Fiji has launched its new and reworked Matai 2.0 online agent training programme for travel agents across the globe.
The Matai relaunch is a way for agents to reacquaint themselves with the destination following the reopening of Fiji’s international borders.
Tourism Fiji’s agent incentive campaign, which was set to be in place until April 30 or until all 120 reward tickets had been secured, has ended in just over three weeks due to the overwhelming number of entries from agents across the country selling Fiji to their clients.
The ‘Sell Fiji Airways and we’ll shout you a ticket to Happiness’ was launched on 14 March as a celebration of New Zealand’s borders opening to Fiji for the first time in two years.
Tropica Island Resort Fiji is set to reopen on 1 April.
General manager Rodney Samuels says the resort has introduced a new reservation system which allows guests to manage their booking and resort experiences via a Guest Portal.
With Pacific nations at widely differing stages of re-opening for tourism, the region’s destinations are being urged to focus on a change of messaging for the long-term future of the sector.
Chris Cocker, chief executive officer of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) gave an update to interested parties in New Zealand yesterday. The hybrid event was held in conjunction with the New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade Aid Programme and the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, with about 20 attendees at the live presentation in the MFAT Auckland office, joined by an audience on Zoom.
Cook Islands tour operator and destination management company Turama Pacific Travel Group is offering five and seven-night special packages staying at a range of resorts for travel in January and February. They include free airport transfers, an Island Discovery tour and Island Night show and dinner with transfers, and daily breakfasts (unless noted). Click here for the specials.
Turama is expecting increased demand out of New Zealand for small group tours now that quarantine-free travel has resumed between the two countries.
With the borders re-opening for two-way quarantine free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands today, Pacific Resort Hotel Group (PRHG) has relaunched its Pacific Pearls Programme in 2022.
The programme rewards PRHG’s best supporting travel agents of its properties: Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Pacific Resort Rarotonga, Little Polynesian Resort, and Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa.
The ‘Covid pause’ of the last 20 months has given time for one of Fiji’s best known tourism operators to rebrand and refocus.
Pacific Destinations Fiji is now TEWAKA, with a logo designed around the mangrove plant in the form of a Fijian Tapa design.
Island Hopper Vacations Cook Islands will release its updated programmes this week.
Managing director, Robert Skews says these are are adaptable to clients’ requirements with all products commissionable at 12% to bona fide travel companies.
French Polynesian cargo cruise line Aranui Cruises has released its 2023 programme. This includes a dedicated Austral Islands explorer featuring the ‘Bora Bora of the south’, a bonus Pitcairn sailing to make up for cancelled Covid cruises and the cruise line’s first five-day cruise.
On sale now, the 2023 programme is Aranui’s most diverse, featuring 25 scheduled cruises ranging from five to 13-days and calling at 26 islands around the South Pacific on Aranui 5, a 125-metre mixed freight and passenger vessel, which offers one of the few remaining cargo cruise experiences in the world.
Demand for a Fiji holiday has seen 66% of all international outbound flights from Australia in October being booked directly to the destination and accounting for 29% of all flights being made, second only to domestic travel.
Hotels and resorts are seeing significant bookings for multi-generation families. Many resorts are booking out, and according to one of Australia’s largest online travel agencies, 39% of all bookings made to Fiji have been made for December and 29% for January, with 2022 quickly filling as well, which is a real boost for the tourism industry after two years of virtually no tourism.