A New Hope with Local Tourism, Activities
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.
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.
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.
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.