30 August, 2018, 10:03 am
AUSTRALIAN Peter Duncan helped establish Bali’s first beach club in the 90s on the island of Nusa Lembongan.
Fast forward almost two decades later and Mr Duncan, now CEO of South Sea Cruises, has established Malamala Beach Club, touted as the world’s only beach club on its own island.
Last week the Mamanuca property celebrated one year of operations with a grand two-day celebration attended by hundreds of tourists and locals alike.
According to Mr Duncan, he had always envisioned that Malamala Beach Club would achieve great success in Fiji’s tourism market.
“We initially came to Fiji for five years and then left for a number of years and when we came back in early 2013, our company already had a couple of negotiations and discussions with the landowning community at Malamala,” he said.
“The developer concepts were not completely fixed, there were a few ideas being tossed around but when I came out to Malamala for the first time and had a look, the beauty and size of the island and the proximity to Denarau, I thought it would be the absolutely perfect place to develop Fiji’s first beach club.”
He said the produce had enormous potential and it was still in its infant stages. “I never doubted it would become enormously successful.
“I still consider the product as an infant. We’ve only been operating a year and what you see today in terms of the number of people we have here, it will continue to evolve and grow.”
South Sea Cruises CEO Brad Rutherford said the club had exceeded all expectations since opening.
“We have had a lot of growth at Malamala and it has been a new concept for the trade in Fiji, being unlike any other day trip.
“It’s been very exciting to deliver that to the market and it has been very well-received and featured on quite a few TV productions and TV shows and this speaks for itself. “We’re sort of the go-to place for the corporate and incentive market, people want a really unique experience.”
The local visitor market has also been identified as one of the key factors that cemented Malamala’s success since starting operations.
“We have our local program MCLUB which had free membership for the first nine months since we opened. It’s now $169 a year so still very affordable, plus you get discounted food and beverages rates and fares. “We want to make Malamala a place where locals can still come and enjoy.”
Mr Rutherford said from Easter through to September, visitor arrivals had been very good. He highlighted that a lot of business had poured in through the conference and incentive sector.