Foreign duo ‘duped’, Tourism Fiji cautions visitors

TOURISM Fiji has urged travellers to Fiji to use its website or trusted travel monitor sites such as TripAdvisor when planning holiday activities in the country.

The organisation highlighted this after a Canadian couple claimed they were duped by a Nadi tour operator.

Ken and Sharon Penner from Vancouver BC arrived in the country on Christmas Day last year.

The couple, who are in their mid-60s, had been travelling since 1993 and spend most of their holidays exploring exotic dive destinations around the globe.

“We had always wanted to come to Fiji because we got the impression that it was a very friendly place that had great dive spots,” Mrs Penner said.

“But from the moment we went looking for a dive adventure that would suit our budget, we have had nothing but bad experiences.” She said after making enquiries in Nadi Town, a “guide” led them to a tour company where they were quoted $1200 for 10 dives. “We paid a deposit of $550 but were later contacted by the dive company and they informed us that the dives would cost us $2650.”

Mrs Penner said they had visited countries all over the world and found that the increase was excessive.

“So we went to the company office to get our deposit back because we felt that we had been cheated and no one was there.

“A lady in the office next door said the lady we had dealt with had packed up her things and disappeared.”

The couple contacted Nadi police and lodged an official report.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said the lady the couple had dealt with had been charged and appeared in court.

Tourism Fiji CEO Matthew Stoeckel confirmed he had been in touch with Mr and Mrs Penner.

“The couple reached out to Tourism Fiji for assistance with contacting the relevant authorities,” he said.

“This information was provided. While the issue is a police matter, Tourism Fiji will closely follow the outcome of the police investigation into the incident.”

He said visitors to our shores who did not arrive on pre-packaged holidays should visit the Tourism Fiji website for trusted tour operators and activities.

“Naturally, we would suggest the starting point for inspiration about where to go and what to see in Fiji is Tourism Fiji’s website — www.fiji.travel.

“It has information on how to get around, Fiji’s experiences across each of its regions and tour operations and resorts are provided with a listing free of charge on the website that links directly back to the operators own website.”

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