Visitors to Fiji can look forward to a new type of tourist destination, as Levuka makes preparations to showcase its well-preserved architectural heritage and historical landmarks.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Tourism hosted an industry consultation in Levuka with local stakeholders to discuss strategies and steps required to begin to position Levuka Town as a world class heritage site.
This follows Levuka’s submission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to become a listed World Heritage Site early last year, and a follow up visit from an independent assessment team in October.
Permanent Secretary for Tourism Ms. Elizabeth Powell said that as Levuka awaits UNESCO’s decision, which is expected in June or July of this year, there was still much work to be done by stakeholders in Levuka to better cater for this niche tourism market.
“Levuka has a unique cultural and heritage that differentiates it from other international visitor destinations in Fiji,” she said.
“Local operators must work together to develop innovative schemes with which the Ministry can assist so that we develop a product that meets the demands of heritage tourists – such as historical guided tours, booklets that map Levuka’s many heritage and cultural sites and tell the stories of past prominent figures, informational signage, appropriate marketing materials, public facilities, and quality heritage handicrafts and souvenirs.”
She added that the tourism industry in Levuka should look beyond the current challenges of access and infrastructure to find ways to highlight Levuka’s strengths as one of the South Pacific’s best preserved old colonial towns.
The consultation included around twenty members of the Levuka Tourism Association, technical staff of the World Heritage Project and the CEO of Levuka Town Council.
The consultation also provided a forum for operators to raise their concerns with Government on issues they saw as affecting tourism in Levuka. The Tourism Association was updated on wider developments in the tourism industry – including the role of the new Tourism Fiji – and Government’s plans for future development.