Shashita’s tourism dream

Shashita Nand explains her tourism journey. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Shashita Nand explains her tourism journey. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

SHASHITA Nand may have travelled many countries, however, her love for her country of birth, Fiji, had always given her the urge to return home and impart her knowledge to fellow hoteliers and tourism operators.

She has lived and worked in Australia for a number of years plying her trade in the Information Technology (IT) sector and upon her return to Fiji found out that tourism was where she needed to be to get the exposures she need in life.

“I went to the University of the South Pacific while I worked at the Apple centre of Fiji and in those days was owned by the owners of Architects Pacific,” Shashita explained.

“They had a Mac dealership, so while I worked with them I went to USP and did my Diploma in Tourism and I started my career in Shangri La in 1997 right up to 2000. That obviously gives away my age but it has been a long journey.

“I was there for three years then I went on to work at the Outrigger and after a year of being posted there I took some time off and travelled so I went to Europe, the States and Canada and then came back to my family in Australia and then made my way back to Fiji.

“Then I went into relaunch Vomo Island Resort which used to be part of the Sheraton brand and it was bought by the Kava Group and they made some changes and I became part of that relaunch team.”

Shashita described her experience as fantastic because she got the opportunities to move from resorts to resorts while at the same time moved back to Australia to work in one of the Marriot hotels and this was where she learnt about how the whole Marriot brand worked.

She then moved to Thailand with a Marriott hotels there and was there for a number of years before moving back to Fiji to take up a post with the Radisson Resort.

“You know no matter where I went to, I always ended up back here in Fiji. They say you can take the girl out of Fiji but you can never take Fiji out of the girl.

“So I came back as the director of sales for Radisson Blu Resort Fiji and then continued to work on different projects and prior to joining Shangri La, I worked at Nanuku Auberge Resort based out of Australia and I was with them for two and a half years.

“It was only natural when the opportunity came up and I was asked to join the Shangri La team, I would come back.”

Some may ask where Shashita inherited her love for tourism from.

Her father worked as an accountant for some resorts and the family had travelled quite extensively around the country.

When she had time, the Sigatoka native would travel back to some of the places where her father had worked.

Shashita grew up in Korotogo and went to Sigatoka Methodist School before spending a few of her junior secondary school years at Suva’s Dudley High School for a few years before migrating with her family to Australia when she was 15 years old.

“I didn’t know that I would end up working in the tourism industry even though dad worked in the industry. He was always disappointed that no one took up the job as well.

“I was originally in IT and I have an older brother who is a doctor and then I got another brother who’s in telecommunications and my sister is in Government.

“So you know we were all doing different things. But when I came back to Fiji, at that time we were not in the cutting edge of technology and I thought there had to be something else that I could do that is fun and engaging.

“I love working with the public and hotels are so much fun. It’s a lot of hard work. A lot of extra hours but it’s fun. It’s good.”

For the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort newly-appointed director of sales, travelling was a lot of fun as well as she got the opportunity to meet a lot of people.

She also believed the tourism industry was where people got the opportunity to meet people from different countries and you would use up this exposure in your own homes or even in improving your own, personal life.

“The way we work, the way we present ourselves and the food we eat. It goes back into our homes whether you like or not.

“You look after your homes different and maybe you even eat differently but the spiral effect of that is what sort of got me. It’s just something I really enjoy, meeting people and then of course learning and gaining from those experiences,” Shashita added.

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