Fiji MeJanie RobinsonText and Photos by Janie Robinson

More than 90 North American travel agents and wholesalers gathered in the Fiji Islands January 28 to February 3 for Fiji…an Amazing Place, the first of several Educational Fam trips planned by the Fiji Visitors Bureau (FVB) for 2008.

Patterned after the popular television program The Amazing Race, the FVB and Air Pacific hosted the trip, with support from more than 55 Fiji Tourism Industry partners with product ranging from spa resorts, exclusive small retreats, cruising and adventure tours, romantic weddings and honeymoon getaways to family holidays.

The new “Fiji Me” branding campaign and the launch of The Fiji Islands Visitors Bureau (FIVB) web site took centre stage during opening presentations. The Fiji Me brand, built on the country’s reputation as a leading destination for relaxation with the friendliest of people, “will roll out across key markets including North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Europe and United Kingdom,” said Ili Matatolu, regional director, FIVB – the Americas.

Fiji Me 2Janie RobinsonGrowing potential market segments in North America, and Canada in particular, was echoed in a presentation by Mike Nacola, national sales and marketing manager, Air Pacific. “I think awareness of Fiji in the Canadian market isn’t as good as it possibly should be,” he said.

“We see adventure groups, MICE (meetings, incentives and conference market) and the family market from Canada, but a lot of them are coming via Los Angeles down to Fiji,” Nacola continued. “Air Pacific has two services that operate from Nadi, via Honolulu to Canada (Vancouver). Those are the services we’d like to see more people opt for, as that will enable us to grow, because the demand justifies it.”
Can Stats
• The Canadian market saw an increase of 12% with 2007 arrivals - achieving a total of 17,755 visitors compared to 2006’s total of 15,638.
• Canada has moved up from 2% to 3% of the market share for Fiji overall.

What’s New
Take-off: Air Pacific offers six flights weekly (daily except Fridays) out of the LAX gateway to Nadi, and will no longer codeshare this route with Air New Zealand. Direct service, Vancouver to Nadi, via Honolulu, continues twice weekly. Air Pacific acquired Pacific Sun in February of 2007, offering domestic and regional service in Fiji and the South Pacific.

Me Tarzan: Your clients can now soar through the Fijian rainforest on the only canopy zip lines in the South Pacific. Zip Fiji owners boast this thrilling new adventure tour through mountain jungles near Pacific Harbour, Vitu Levu “will soon rank among the best zip line adventures in the world!”
New Year Baby: The Taunovo Bay Resort and Spa Fiji’s newest five star boutique villa property offers both luxury resort accommodations and villa ownership on beautiful Taunovo Bay, dubbed 'The Adventure Capital of Fiji', with world class diving at Beqa Lagoon, an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course, river rafting and island excursions.

SeraCawanibukaJanie RobinsonNew Fiji Co-ordinator: Sera Cawanibuka was recently appointed new regional co-ordinator Americas for the Fiji Matai Specialists Program for the Fiji Visitors Bureau, North America (FVB). In her new position, Cawanibuka’s responsibilities will include the implementation of training, overseeing annual awards, organizing Fiji Super Fam trips and developing marketing materials for the 2008-2009 Matai Specialists Program. Cawanibuka will also oversee incentive-based initiatives, Matai newsletter, Bula seminars, and yearly road shows.