THE first locally-owned five star resort will be built on Tokoriki Island in the Mamanuca Group.
Ritam Investments, the owners of Lautoka-based P Meghji, yesterday announced it would spend up to $35million on the makeover of the existing property, which would be managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide when completed.
The revamped resort will be called Sheraton Fiji Resort and Spa, Tokoriki Island and will be the international chain's fourth Fiji property.
Attorney-General and Minister for Tourism Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum welcomed the new partnership between the two companies at the official signing, held yesterday at Sheraton Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau Island.
"This is a very exciting achievement not only because of the fact that the Sheraton Fiji Resort is now going into the Mamanucas, we also have a locally-renowned brand also venturing into the resort industry," said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.
"From a Bainimarama government perspective, the fact that you have a Fijian business going into the hotel industry directly for the first time is a major achievement and this is in fact one of our goals.
"Our goal is to diversify the economic base of the country and to provide that trajectory into economic growth and to encourage Fijian entrepreneurs to go into business areas where they have not gone into before."
Ritam Investments director Romit Meghji said while the new partnership was important, the company also considered their work with local landowners vital.
"The native landowners of Tokoriki Island, the mataqali group, is an important stakeholder in this venture and it is our desire to work along with them in the years to come to ensure that we build a strong relationship so that our success is also their success," Mr Meghji said.