Fiji Time: 8:08 PM on Sunday 17 December

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Fruit of their labour

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Thursday, December 07, 2017

IOANE and Kasanita Nacoko are a real testimony to hard work and the things we can achieve when we put our faith in the things we do.

The couple faced many challenges while chasing their dream, but they remained steadfast just so they could get their small backpacker business up and running.

Today they own Long Beach Backpacker Resort on Yasawa Island, which has been operating for the past 17 years.

The property offers some of the best value accommodation in the Yasawa Group, with just five cottages featuring private bathrooms, plus a dormitory that can pack in bigger groups of backpackers.

Their small size ensures an intimate atmosphere with genuine Fijian hospitality and the accommodation is located close to the traditional Fijian fishing village of Vuaki on Matacawalevu Island, which offers a genuine insight into the indigenous Fijian culture.

But the main appeal for any guest to Long Beach is the secluded white sandy beach that the backpacker resort is located alongside, and the turquoise sheltered swimming lagoon with snorkelling reefs and drop-offs to explore.

Despite running and overseeing the core business operations of the company, Ms Nacoko maintains it is the hard work of local villagers that propelled the business and allowed the business to stay open for 17 years.

She also shared that the staff members of Awesome Adventures have been supportive.

"They are also important because they transfer out guests and give them a great travel experience and set the mood for visitors' holiday," she said.

"It has been a longstanding relationship that we have had with Awesome Adventures and we always make sure the best is provided to our guests so they return satisfied at the end of their stay at Long Beach."

The couple started with just four bure in 2000 before growing the tourism business to what it is today.

From the Fijian bure, they upgraded to modern bure and have six double bure, one dormitory consisting of eight beds and private facilities which they also plan to expand soon.

The couple are also traditional landowners and the idea to generate their own tourism business came up many years ago when Mr Nacoko decided to develop the land belonging to his mataqali for tourism.

They also believed that Fijians, as landowners should take away the old mind-set of relying on other people for development, and instead invest in their own resources.

They said the only thing such businesses needed was hard work and commitment for it to thrive.

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