Fiji?s effort to attract more international visitors has been given a significant boost with the launch of a new Tourism Fiji website to showcase the country and its attractions.
The search engine-friendly address,?www.fiji.travel, is a state of the art, interactive site that allows holidaymakers to organize most aspects of their visit themselves before they leave home, including obtaining quotes and making bookings.
The website?s unique built-in Travel Planner can tailor individual preferences for the full range of Fiji?s offerings – family holidays, romance, backpackers, diving and adventure. Prospective visitors can also share their holiday plans with friends and family via social media outlets such as Facebook.
Designed by a New Zealand-based specialist company, Sparks Interactive, the new website is part of the recently announced global rebranding of the country?s tourism effort under the slogan ?Fiji ? Where Happiness Finds You?.
Launching the site in Nadi this evening, the Attorney General and Minister for Tourism, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said the initiative put Fiji on the cutting edge of website marketing and had important benefits for the Fijian tourism industry.
?We expect that the ability of holidaymakers to get quotes and book their holidays direct will lead to an overall increase in the number of bookings. Those direct bookings mean more money in the pockets of local operators, rather than their overseas agents, and more of the returns from tourism being kept in Fiji. Local operators are also empowered by giving them easy access to the website to showcase their various attractions. It acts as a kind of living travel brochure about Fiji that can be altered and updated at any time?, he said.
The Minister said the website exemplified the efforts of the Bainimarama Government to harness the most innovative means, where possible, to advance the national interest. ?The international tourism market is highly competitive and there are many other destinations vying for the same trade. This website puts us in a great position because if it?s interactive capability and the imaginative way in which it showcases the unique Fijian travel experience?, he said.
The Acting Chair of Tourism Fiji, Elizabeth Powell, said prospective holidaymakers now had a much higher degree of control over what they wanted to see and do in Fiji. ?Visitors used to be dependent on travel agents for advice or the word of mouth of family and friends. Now they can examine all of the available options on one interactive website from the comfort of their homes anywhere in the world. With all the information they need at their fingertips in a user friendly online environment, they?re in the best possible position to get the most out of their holidays and Fiji has more opportunity to get repeat business ?, she said.
The new website is a vital component of the major overhaul and brand transformation announced by Tourism Fiji last year. This includes the appointment of a new global advertising agency, the selection of new public relations and media partners in Australia, New Zealand and the US, the appointment? of a new social media partner and the appointment of a new CEO, Rick Hamilton.
The Minister said Fiji had embarked on an exciting transformation in its efforts to market the country, grow the tourism industry and provide ordinary Fijians with more opportunities for employment.
?This is all about taking a holistic approach to the whole tourism effort and bringing together the various stakeholders to work for the common cause of growing our industry and the national economy. Tourism currently provides over a third of Fiji?s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and we are laying the foundation for more growth. Our goal is more visitors, bigger-spending visitors, more return on our collective investment in marketing, more investment in the local industry and above all, more jobs and prosperity for ordinary Fijians?, the Minister added.