By Sakul Kundra
One of the tourism epicentres of the South Pacific, Fiji is a beacon of exceptional natural beauty, cultural diversity, and genuine friendliness.
“Bula” Smile is always appeasing. This warm and kind gesture establishes a congenial and welcoming ambience.
The slogans associated with the tourism industry in connection with Fiji, certainly attract visitors, for example, ‘Fiji – Where Happiness Finds You’. Or ’Where happiness comes naturally’ “Our Bula Spirit Awaits You”.
Many believe this has been a gateway of heaven of the Pacific to attract tourists worldwide. The people of Fiji have topped the Happiness index and give extreme value to hospitality. Their genuine warmth and friendliness are recognized far and wide.
This archipelago of 333 islands provides a distinctive and modern experience for those wanting more than simply a tropical retreat. Beyond the sun-kissed beaches and crystal-clear seas, Fiji attracts travellers with traditional charm and contemporary elegance, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a genuine and diversified tourist experience.
This op-ed attempts to present a snapshot of some factors that may attract visitors and some issues that can make a progressive difference.
The highest number of visitors arriving in 2023 based on country comes from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, UK and others, and the purpose of the visit is holidays, visiting friends/relatives, business and other factors. Thus, tourists are attracted to Fiji, which is considered to be an attractive tourist holiday destination in the South Pacific.
Fiji’s cultural uniqueness is woven with tradition and modernity. Visitors are greeted with open arms by the Fijian people, who are noted for their warmth and kindness. There is always an opportunity to immerse oneself in a combination of heritage and modern attractiveness. This allows mixing deep-rooted cultural tradition with the vitality of the present, producing a refreshing ambience.
Fiji’s terrain is visually captivating, adorned with beaches lined with palm trees, vibrant blue seas, and abundant tropical woods. Tourists began to view the picturesque landscapes from the flight as in-flight views before they landed at Fiji’s airport, which created a serene and inspiring atmosphere. The natural beauty of Fiji displays a captivating essence among the visitors.
On arrival, many tourists may fully engage with the dynamic and rich Fijian culture by participating in traditional rituals, dance performances, and art exhibitions. Tourists can explore underwater life by visiting flourishing coral reefs and diverse marine life. The islands are surrounded by abundant coral reefs with bright marine life, providing exceptional opportunities for snorkelling and diving.
Relaxation and happiness are at their prime during the visit to Fiji; the host makes every possible effort to give the best hospitality they will never forget forever. Tourism goes with brand value and goodwill. Once the tourists leave the country with happiness, they give a natural marketing by the word of mouth of the visitor. They share pictures of their visited destinations on social media with their friends and family, which creates curiosity among potential visitors. The tourist has various opportunities for excitement and relaxation, including trekking, visiting waterfalls, and discovering the pristine beauty of ecotourism.
Many tourist-based nations are on the top list for young couples for “Wedding or Honeymoon Destinations”. This archipelago can also focus on this aspect to top the chart of nations for wedding/honeymoon destinations; this shall give a huge boost to the economy and create job opportunities for local service providers. Branding of historical and cultural centres can attract tourists, as has been done by many island nations.
There is a huge competition among tropical and beach honeymoon destinations, which include Bali, Indonesia; Bora Bora, French Polynesia; Hamilton Island, Australia; Koh Samui, Thailand; Maldives; Mauritius; Puerto Rico; Seychelles and others. Fiji is included in the list but must strive to top the list under this category by adopting an innovative approach to make the wedding/marriage a lifetime memorable experience.
Fiji appeals to visitors/tourists who want to explore the combination of stunning scenery, cultural abundance, “Bula” friendly reception, and a diverse range of activities. To be the best tourist attraction, one has to develop strategic policies with clear pathways of execution to compete with similar tourist destinations. Fiji can make a lasting impression and entice the tourist to return. Fiji has all the ingredients to become a global tourism powerhouse.
Contributing Author: Dr Sakul Kundra is an Associate Dean (Research) and Associate Professor at the College of Humanities and Education at Fiji National University. The views expressed are his own and not of this newspaper or his employer. Email email@example.com
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