Australian tourists prefer Fiji, says Stoeckel

Leleuvia Island Resort sports a picturesque view from its sand bank. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

AUSTRALIANS still prefer holidaying in Fiji despite stiff competition from destinations such as Bali, Indonesia, says Tourism Fiji CEO Matthew Stoeckel.

He made the comment during a presentation on the tourism industry at the 2018 Fiji Australia Business Forum last week.

“Through our research we know that 63 per cent of Australians say they will take a holiday to a beach or island destination in the next two years — so we’re still relevant among the considerations people make to take a holiday,” he said.

“Of those people that are interested in taking a type of holiday to Fiji — most of them are considering Fiji.

“Only 2 per cent of people that we ask would not consider Fiji for their next holiday. “On the other hand when we ask the same question about Bali, almost 35 per cent of Australians would not consider Bali.

“So we have very few negative connotations about our destination and really positives that our brand continues to be relevant and Australians really do understand that Fiji is the place where happiness finds you.”

Mr Stoeckel said other contributing factors to Fiji’s ongoing attractiveness as a holiday destination was new and exciting products like Malamala Beach Club, Six Senses and Kokomo.

“We’ve got great new resorts that have come on and really given us a critical mass of luxury product to help raise our profile of Fiji being a luxury tourist destination.

“We’ve also got fantastic new infrastructure, for those who have travelled recently — we have a beautiful new modernised airport and modern road infrastructure in Nadi which are all contributing to improving the visitor experience here on the ground.”

The Tourism Fiji CEO said while increasing visitor arrivals was important, it was equally important that visitor arrivals were encouraged in the tourism off-season and to also attract high value travellers.

“Most of our activities are around two things — firstly to improve our seasonality and we use new messages and new means to try and encourage people to come to Fiji outside our core period when we know we’ve got access and inventory.

“And the second one is adding value to our brand. We are not in the business of just competing on price and to support premium pricing we’re very focused on developing our brand further so we can charge premium price in the market.

“As an industry I am really confident that we are getting it right despite the increase in competition.”

Fiji received a record 842,000 tourists in 2017 and is expected to surpass that figure by the end of this year.

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