CAPTION: Joe Marquadt Gray, Airports Fiji Limited’s Manager Airport Landside & Customer Service, has been declared the 2012 Fijian Host of the Year. Photo: MARGARET NAQIRI.
The person who most enhanced the visitor experience at Nadi International Airport in 2012 has been announced by the Attorney General and Minister for Tourism, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
He is Joe Marquadt Gray, Airports Fiji Limited’s Manager Airport Landside & Customer Service, who has been declared the 2012 Fijian Host of the Year and wins a trip for two to Australia as part of his award.
He will also receive a trophy from the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, at the AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on February 22nd.
Mr Gray – who was the Fijian Host of the Month for November – was the highest ranked airport employee as chosen by visitors passing through Nadi, who filled out forms available in the airport’s secure areas.
He received a top average score of 37.5 points out of a possible 40, placing him ahead of the other monthly winners since the Fijian Hosts program was announced last September.
Mr Gray was also voted as Lead Champion – to head a list of eight Fijian Hosts Champions for 2012. They include Pita Raiqeu of FRCA, Inspector Shiu Chand of the Border Police, Ana Duta of Tyco Security, Abdul Sahim of ATS, Jone Ledua of Immigration, Deo Sharan of Health and Surend Pratap of Biosecurity.
At a ceremony at the airport, the Minister congratulated the winners for their efforts to enhance the airport experience for international visitors and Fijians travelling to and from overseas.
“It’s your “Bula” welcome that makes all the difference in a sometimes stressful situation and I want to pay tribute to your dedication and service. A big smile and some personal attention can set the tone for the whole Fiji experience and leave our visitors wanting to return”, he said.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also thanked the Ministry of Tourism’s partners in the Fijian Hosts program -Starwood Hotels, represented by Shane Cumming -and Sambal, the design company and its principals on the program, Dom Samsom and Kitty McGoon.
“Each of you provided your services gratis to help us launch this important initiative and we are very grateful for your valuable support”, he said.
The Fijian Hosts Council is chaired by the Permanent Secretary for Tourism, Elizabeth Powell. Its other members are the Chair of Tourism Fiji, Dave Pflieger, Starwood’s General Manager, Shane Cumming, the Acting CEO of AFL, Naushad Ali and tourism industry leader Tony Whitton.