A New Hope with Lo­cal Tourism, Ac­tiv­i­ties

Fiji Sun - - BUSINESS INTERNATIO­NAL - Feed­back: rach­nal@fi­jisun.com.fj

Tourism was thriv­ing in Fiji sup­port­ing the lives of thou­sands of Fi­jians and a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to our econ­omy.

This was all un­til COVID-19 hit the world and bor­ders start­ing clos­ing one-by-one from early this year and ul­ti­mately reach­ing the shores of our ma­jor tourist mar­kets – Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

Bor­ders closed

And since our bor­ders closed in March, the en­tire tourism sec­tor has been badly af­fected. Many peo­ple have been laid off, sent on leave with­out pay or are work­ing on re­duced hours.

There is still hope for the in­dus­try – per­haps not at the for­eign tourist ar­rival lev­els but at least it will be some­thing to go by.

En­tic­ing spe­cials

That hope to­day lies in lo­cal tourism. The re­al­ity is, this could be an op­por­tune time for re­sorts and ho­tels to mar­ket them­selves to our lo­cals with en­tic­ing spe­cials.

With at­trac­tive rates, lo­cals would in fact grab the op­por­tu­nity to en­joy the lux­u­ries of re­sort-liv­ing which is oth­er­wise only af­ford­able for tourists.

This more like be­comes a on­cein-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity for many in­di­vid­u­als and at the same time will en­sure our tourism sec­tor em­ploy­ees re­main em­ployed even if it’s on re­duced hours or pay.

Not only re­sorts and ho­tels, but other seg­ments of the in­dus­try such as ad­ven­ture sports, lo­cal cruises and other ac­tiv­i­ties as­so­ci­ated gen­er­ally with tourism and tourists could be of­fered to lo­cals but at a dis­counted rates.

In any sit­u­a­tion, this would be bet­ter than prop­er­ties and busi­nesses per­ma­nently shut­ting doors.

Whilst some prop­er­ties closed doors tem­po­rar­ily, there were oth­ers which have con­tin­ued op­er­a­tions and it has been ei­ther on re­duced num­ber of days or on big spe­cials.

And these op­er­a­tors have shown the way their busi­ness can in­deed sur­vive even with lo­cals.

Get­ting cre­ative

And while the per­cep­tion is lo­cals have been hard-hit and can­not af­ford these at this time, in ad­di­tion to lo­cals, let’s not for­get we still have a large pop­u­la­tion of ex­pa­tri­ates still work­ing in the coun­try. These can be the other group of peo­ple can be tar­geted as they would highly likely not have been af­fected by pay cuts or re­duced hours.

This is surely a time to get cre­ative with our of­fer­ings and pro­mot­ing lo­cal tourism.

At the end of the tun­nel, there surely seems to be a sil­ver lin­ing for our tourism in­dus­try af­ter all.

See­ing the beau­ti­ful is­lands of Fiji from the air is an ex­pe­ri­ence of a life­time.

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