FOR the next five years, Fiji will play host to one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama signed a memorandum of understanding with PGA Australia to host the Fiji International.
To be held at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf course, the event is guaranteed a minimum prize purse of $US1 million ($F1.82 million).
He said the signing was a significant moment for Fiji because it demonstrated that the PGA had faith in Fiji to hold one of its major events.
"Faith in our infrastructure. Faith in our economy. And faith in our people. I am here to say that we are equal to the opportunity and look forward to a strong and lasting relationship with the PGA," Commodore Bainimarama said.
"Although Fiji has long offered some of the best golf courses in the region, both to our visitors and to our local golfers, the Fiji International will rightfully establish it as one of the world's top golfing destinations."
He said they expected the tournament to lead directly to a multi-million dollar boost for Fiji, with many additional flow-on benefits.
"One such benefit is that this tournament will increase the value of the FNPF-owned land in Natadola.
"As a result, after the second stage of development work there, the FNPF will achieve a higher rate of return when it sells or leases that land, profiting all of the funds' current members, as well as all future generations of members.
"Well, the Fiji International PGA golf tournament is certainly something we Fijians can be proud of. It will give us a fantastic avenue to promote our beautiful nation and show the world what we have to offer."
PGA Australia chief executive officer Brian Thorburn said the tournament presented an opportunity for Fiji to claim a position as one of the world's greatest golf destinations.
He said while they could not confirm whether world renowned golfers such as Tiger Woods or Vijay Singh would attend the event, he added they were trying their best to rope in the best.
"It will have to depend on the schedule of the golfers next year but we can confirm that this tournament will contribute towards their world tour points," Thorburn said.