Post-COVID comeback – 2023 phase for resorts looks good, says Chadha

Multi-Property Vice President Pacific Islands Marriott International & General Manager Westin & Sheraton Resorts, Fiji Complex, Neeraj Chadha at Paradiso in Suva last week. Picture: JONA KONATACI

The 2023 phase for the Marriott Fiji International Resorts is looking good if not better, says Multi-Property Vice President Pacific Islands Marriott International & General Manager Westin & Sheraton Resorts, Fiji Complex, Neeraj Chadha.

Speaking during the group’s Global Customer Appreciation Week (GCAW) cocktail event at the Paradiso Restaurant in Suva on Thursday evening, he said the collaborations between government ministries, Fiji Airways, other hoteliers, suppliers and other partners saw the fabulous recovery of the tourism sector in Fiji.

“So this was actually in the middle of 2020 and we all wanted a sustainable long-term strategy, so the conversation on the table was, you know what, let’s be proactive,” Mr Chadha said.

“Let’s go out there with a message to our source markets that Fiji is ready to receive guests as early as said, we shouldn’t wait for anybody else to tell us that they are ready to come.

“We took that message, the message was extremely well communicated to our source parties so that the people that were visiting Fiji actually knew what to expect. And then the response came over to the tourism industry to actually deliver and make sure that the promise that we were giving to all our visitors could actually be delivered on the ground and this was done exceptionally well.”

He said the success achieved post-pandemic has resulted in various initiatives already being undertaken and some others that are being collaborated with various other groups and companies for the near future.

“We’ll probably do some strategic partnership with the Mamanuca Environment Society (MES) Fiji. We’ve also made friends with FRIEND Fiji and together with them we are on the journey of making sure that our practices, our culture, our investment and capital investment are all in the direction of sustainable activities.

“We will continuously invest in to the associates, the teams that work with us.

“We have opened the Fiji Marriott Training Academy in the middle of the pandemic. We went out to various villages and asked them if they have many people who did not have work and if they would be interested in coming and learning so when the borders do open, they can be gainfully employed.

“To our surprise we got over 300 people interested, not paid. The villages sponsored their transport, we offered lunch and they spent six hours a day in the classroom or in a restaurant environment, learning how to cook, how to serve guests or to do customer service.

“But I can say to you, the majority of them have been gainfully employed of course the major beneficiary were the Marriott Hotels.”

Mr Chandra thanked the attending partners, suppliers and supporters who were present at the cocktail event and those who may not have made it.

“Thank you to our business partners and suppliers, contractors, everybody who has worked with us through this journey and has been patient with us.

“There were times when we couldn’t pay the bills, but now no problem.

“Your relationship, your friendship, your trust, your confidence in our brands and our hotels and our team has been exemplary.”

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