DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 23/04/15 4:30PM

1. New $70m hotel TO BOOST FIJI?S TOURISM SECTOR – The construction of a new $70 million 5 ? star hotel to be built on Denarau Island will boost Fiji?s position as a premier holiday destination.

2. TIMELY GRANTS FOR VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS – ?Government is committed to create an inclusive Fiji for the disabled community and helping them to live in a healthy society.?

3. Exciting times for tourism industry – Fiji is in for exciting times in the tourism industry as new ventures including new advertising platforms are continuously being made available for Fiji?s tourism industry to use as part of its awareness campaign.


4. Students urged to read at world book day celebrations
– Students of Delainamasi Government School received educational and entertaining reading books for Year One to Year Five as part of World Book Day celebrations today.


5. NEW BRIDGE TO LINK TAILEVEU COMMUNITIES
– The Vunivaivai bridge on Ratu Kadavulevu Road will be rebuilt at a cost of $1.5 million and will give nearby villages and communities access to essential services.

6. Visitor numbers continue to soar – Fiji?s visitor arrivals continue to highlight record figures indicating that the Fijian tourism sector can expect another busy year says the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Hon. Faiyaz Koya.

7. SOLOMON ISLANDS SEEKS HIGHER EDUCATION GUIDANCE – A Ministerial team from Solomon Islands Ministry of Education visited the Fiji Higher Education Commission this week for advisory and consultation purposes.


8. SECURITY QUALIFICATIONS READY FOR DELIVERY
– Security Officers in the country can now have suitable qualifications with the ?National Qualification in Security? now ready to be delivered in institutions.

1 New $70m hotel TO BOOST FIJI?S TOURISM SECTOR

The construction of a new $70 million 5 ? star hotel to be built on Denarau Island will boost Fiji?s position as a premier holiday destination.

The hotel is part of a consortium between InterContinental Hotels Group and Avoser Limited.

The signing of the Property Management Agreement took place yesterday afternoon at the Intercontinental Fiji Golf and Spa Resort for the proposed resort, which is expected to complete construction after two years beginning from this year. A highlight of the resort will include a retail outlet.

The Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Hon. Faiyaz Koya who was the chief guest at the signing welcomed the investment into the tourism sector.

?We want our visitors to come to Fiji and enjoy our hospitality and not just stay in the hotels but go out and spend in our stores. Therefore, such high-end retail and commercial developments are crucial for the growth,? the Minister said in response to the construction of the resort and the retail outlet.

?One day we want these high-end retail outlets to feature exclusive, authentic Fijian crafted items, as our domestic duty free outlets are currently retailing. It will be the perfect partnership of international brands working with domestic brands.?

?Whilst we provide the best and friendliest services, we need to ensure that we are able to cater to our markets needs in terms of extra activities, especially high-end shopping. It is very encouraging to see Fijian entrepreneurs entering the tourism and hospitality sector,? Hon. Koya said.

The project will create 250 new jobs during the construction phase and 180 Fijians will be employed by InterContinental Hotels Group when the Resort opens for business.

2 TIMELY GRANTS FOR VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS

?Government is committed to create an inclusive Fiji for the disabled community and helping them to live in a healthy society.?

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon Rosy Akbar highlighted this at the signing of the ?Grants Agreement to Voluntary Organisations? under the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) yesterday.

?There is a constitutional protection for people with disabilities in our Constitution and the Fijian Government?s initiative to ensure inclusiveness at all levels mandates all our policies, programs and operations,? Minister Akbar said.

?Fiji is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and I must ensure you that ample resources will be made available to support your organizations.?

While handing out the grants, Minister Akbar urged the voluntary organizations to maintain good working relationships within the organizations and FNCDP.

?We also have Care and Protection allowance whereby we try to assist those families facing challenges in looking after their disabled member,? Minister Akbar added.

?People with disabilities are also Fijians and will not be left isolated in our vision of empowering them.?

United Blind Person of Fiji project officer Ms Anaseini Vakaidia commended the Fijian government for its continuous support and for the ratification of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) this year.

?This grant will help us in some of our funded projects within the organisation and pay wages, however, we request if the grants can be increased later as it is not enough taken into account the high cost of living.?

A total of $47,394 was handed out where Fiji Vocational Technical Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities received $18,000, Counterstroke Fiji received $7,394, Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation (FDPF) received $5,000, Fiji Association for Deaf received $5,000, United Blind Person of Fiji received $5,000 and Spinal Injury Association of Fiji received $7000.


?3 Exciting times for tourism industry

Fiji is in for exciting times in the tourism industry as new ventures including new advertising platforms are continuously being made available for Fiji?s tourism industry to use as part of its awareness campaign.

Those were the words from the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Hon. Faiyaz Koya as he launched the Fiji Island Living magazine in Nadi last night.

?This is a very wonderful opportunity to further market Fiji?s tourism industry and give readers another opportunity to know more about Fiji,? he said.

?Island Living magazine is a renowned magazine and they have done similar advertisements for our neighbour countries and we are grateful that they would like to further boost the Fijian tourism sector to its readers on what a wonderful destination Fiji is.?

The magazine is designed to give readers an inside view of Fijian living and hospitality including various tourism-based destinations.

?The magazines would be distributed in Fijian resorts, around the Pacific and travel agents in Australia,? magazine editor Tiffany Carroll said.

?The magazines would also be available in 45 top hotels in Australia including lounges in more than 12 international airports.?


4 Students urged to read at world book day celebrations

Students of Delainamasi Government School received educational and entertaining reading books for Year One to Year Five as part of World Book Day celebrations today.

The Delainamasi Government School is one of the first recipients under the ?Read to Lead? Fiji programme by Vision Fiji.

The Ministry of Education?s Curriculum Advisory Services director, Mr Iowane Tiko while said reading is part of every students? learning process, new technology means that students can still read and learn.

?I encourage teachers to use these books and make reading enjoyable in schools. Children of today are tech-savvy and teachers can use technology and be innovative in classrooms,? Mr Tiko said.

He added that the Fijian Government has stepped up its support to parents through the supply of textbooks all over Fiji.

?We will soon be moving towards technology-based teaching and in future textbooks can be stored in a flash drive. I urge students to make use of the books and make reading a priority.?

The World Book Day celebrations was organised by the Library Services of Fiji who also launched the Book Festival Roadshow today at the school.

Library Services of Fiji, director Merewalesi Vueti said the roadshow is a new initiative for peri-urban and urban areas to have access to quality books. The roadshow will include book suppliers partnering with Library Services to supply books every Saturday to these areas.

Vision Fiji under the ?Read to Lead? programme will be distributing educational and entertaining reading books to 330 primary schools in remote and maritime areas and hopes to distribute the remaining 402 schools by the end of this year.

The donation includes 250 books at different reading levels, teaching resources, a CD-ROM, activity guides and lesson plans for teachers for each school.

Read to Lead ? Fiji was developed with the Ministry of Education and Library Services of Fiji.


5 NEW BRIDGE TO LINK TAILEVEU COMMUNITIES

The Vunivaivai bridge on Ratu Kadavulevu Road will be rebuilt at a cost of $1.5 million and will give nearby villages and communities access to essential services.

The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Hon. Pio Tikoduadua said that without this bridge replacement, communities in Tailevu will be severed from each other and essential services.

?People would have to make much longer journeys, costing them more money,? Minister Tikoduadua said.

?Over the course of 2015, 30 villages across Fiji will have new street lights installed, providing improved safety as well as opportunities for new enterprises along these well used roads.?

The Minister added that eight of these villages are located in the Tailevu Province along the Kings road and also in Vuci road.

?One of the main arterial linking communities in South Tailevu will be provided with new footpaths to allow pedestrian and children to walk along the road with improved safety and comfort,? Minister Tikoduadua said.

?One of the Fiji Roads Authority?s most important activities in 2015 is the building of new rural roads to provide new access for villages which have been isolated from Fiji?s transport network, and this includes villages that are within Rewa and South Tailevu.?

Projects within the Southern Tailevu Rewa Delta area include the construction of a new road along Kuiva-Kaba peninsula.

FRA works closely with the Commissioner Central?s office and the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development to ensure that priorities in the region are closely aligned as possible.


6 Visitor numbers continue to soar

Fiji?s visitor arrivals continue to highlight record figures indicating that the Fijian tourism sector can expect another busy year says the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Hon. Faiyaz Koya.

The Minister said 2014 proved to be a very successful year for the industry and Government was optimistic that 2015 would also be a record year for tourist arrivals.

?We are set to achieve similar high records this year with the first two months recording 92,400 visitors, and February alone showing an 8.6 per cent increase in the number of visitors. It is worth noting that the non-traditional markets, such as China (22 per cent increase), India (23 per cent increase) and Asia (72 per cent increase), have all shown significant upward trends,? he said.

The Bainimarama Government has set ambitious goals for the industry and with the numbers recorded over the past year, Hon. Koya said that the Fijian tourism sector is on track to achieving them.

The Fijian Government?s focus is to grow both local and foreign investment to spread the wealth brought on by these investments to all Fijians. So far tourism has been the most responsive and pro-active contributor towards this initiative.

?Tourism provides the best avenue for sustainable development and we will continue to facilitate a positive environment with pro-growth policies and innovative strategies that will bring prosperity to the Fijian people as a whole,? he said.

?Through our five-year Fijian Tourism Development Plan, the Ministry will drive our goal of taking tourism industry to new heights and maintain the upward trajectory we have been enjoying thus far.?

The tourism ministry he says is committed towards rolling out the Plan in the next few months and ensuring it guides all stakeholders in efficiently maximising available resources, minimising waste and coordinating development of the industry.

The Plan will look at tourism development in all aspects including investment in enabling infrastructure by the Fijian Government, which will in turn allow for more investment by tourism operators.

7 SOLOMON ISLANDS SEEKS HIGHER EDUCATION GUIDANCE

A Ministerial team from Solomon Islands Ministry of Education visited the Fiji Higher Education Commission this week for advisory and consultation purposes.

The team was led by Solomon Island?s Minister for Education, Hon Derek Sikua and was accompanied by Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji, H.E Patterson J Oti.

The Education Minister who is in Fiji for the USP Council meeting took the opportunity to seek consultation as part of the review for their Education Act.

Solomon Island?s Education Ministry is proposing to have a different Act for Higher Education.

?We are thinking of having a Higher Education body and a Qualification Authority and have similar establishments that Fiji has,? described Hon Sikua.

Hon Sikua commended the Fiji Higher Education Commission on how it had advanced in looking after Fiji?s higher education sector.

FHEC Executive chairman, Dr Richard Wah explained that it?s part of Fiji?s policy to interact with other Pacific Island countries especially the Melanesian Spearhead countries and to render assistance accordingly.

?Fiji, through the FHEC looks forward to rendering assistance to Solomon Islands? government for higher education consultancy,? Dr Wah commented.

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8 SECURITY QUALIFICATIONS READY FOR DELIVERY

Security Officers in the country can now have suitable qualifications with the ?National Qualification in Security? now ready to be delivered in institutions.

Representatives from the Security Industry and higher education providers met recently at the Fiji Higher Education Commission to collaborate on a partnership to deliver the National Qualification in Security.

The Fijian government through the Fiji Higher Education Commission has given leverage and recognition to a National Certificate in Basic Security [Level 2] qualification.

The programme for this qualification which is now available for institutions to roll out was developed by the Security Industry Standards Advisory Committee under the facilitation of the FHEC and the Ministry of Defense.

The National Security Qualification has been benchmarked against the New Zealand and Australian Qualifications and is accredited on the Fiji Qualifications Framework.

Having Fijian security personnel recognised with qualifications will assist raise the standard of Fiji?s security industry.

PRESS RELEASE