TOURISM AWARDS ALL SET TO ROLL

CAPTION: Sponsors and members of the 16th AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards during the press conference at Tourism Fiji boardroom today. Photo: MARGARET NAQIRI.

By JOSEPHINE NAVULA

Tourism Fiji?s new CEO Rick Hamilton says Fiji is one of the hottest destinations in the world as it has everything which people love to experience.
?It?s a fantastic place because everything is here, the country has diving activities, eco-tourism and so many different things,? Mr Hamilton said.
Hamilton, a former New Zealand Flight Centre Managing Director took reigns of the national tourism office recently and was speaking at the AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards launch at the Tourism Fiji boardroom on Tuesday, January 22.
He said it was an honour to be given an opportunity to lead the good work that Tourism Fiji has been doing for the past years.
?I love coming here, and when I was given the opportunity to take this role, I was really excited,? Hamilton said.
The organizing committee of the AON Excellence in Tourism Awards has now finalized their shortlisted applications from a record number of over 140 nominations for last year.

Tourism Fiji chairman David Pflieger, left, has a chat with Gerald Barrack, outgoing chairman and trustee of the AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism organising committee. Photo: MARGARET NAQIRI.

Tourism Fiji chairman David Pflieger, left, has a chat with Gerald Barrack, outgoing chairman and trustee of the AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism organising committee. Photo: MARGARET NAQIRI.

AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards Trustee Chairperson Mathew Gillespie said the standard of entry for the 2012 Awards is exceptional and the list has been finalized after a month of challenging deliberation by a team of experienced, professional judges from a range of industry stake holders.
?All the 2012 short listed applicants will receive a site visit from the judges before final decisions are made. Winners will be represented at the Gala Awards dinner,? he said.
The organizing committee for the AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards also received donations from their sponsors during the launch.
ANZ Head of Tourism Bharat Kumar handed over a cheque of $12,500.
?We have been one of the proud supporters for the industry and the tourism awards and we are also happy to continue helping in order for our tourism industry to grow,? Kumar said.
Major sponsor AON Fiji Limited General Manager Kevin Parr and Airports Fiji Limited General Manger Airports Lawrence Liew handed over a cheque each on behalf on their companies.
Chairman Gillespie also added that unfortunately there can only be one trophy recipient on the night.
?Even though there will be only one awarded as winner, but all contributors have demonstrated their outstanding commitment to continuously elevating the standard of tourism in Fiji in a manner truly reflective of our famous Fijian hospitality, respectful to our natural and cultural environment, and their dedication to the sustainability and longevity of our industry,? he said.
The 16th AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards Gala night and dinner will be held on Friday, February 22 at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa.