In Fiji Bula Vinaka means "a warm hello" and what a warm welcome it was on a wet chilly evening as Tourism Fiji along with a select group of partners greeted agents during the final stop of their North American Spring Series Roadshow at The Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto last week. "It may be rainy outside, but you have some of the
happiest people on earth here," said Sera Cawanibuka, Senior Regional Marketing Analyst for Tourism Fiji.
With 333 islands worth of surf, sand and lush flora to explore and enjoy - all nestled in the idyllic, exotic setting of the South Pacific, what's not to be happy about? "It's a very different destination," said Cawanibuka. "When you come to Fiji, it's where you press the reset button, where you really detach from normal busy lifestyles. Yes, we do have beautiful beaches, but there's more to Fiji than the beach. It is still an authentic destination."
A quick show of hands from those agents in attendance revealed that most haven't had the opportunity to see Fiji creating challenges when selling the destination.
Cawanibuka acknowledged that accessibility can be a struggle from the east, but assured that it's not that far. Daily service is available to Fiji from LAX aboard their national carrier Fiji Airways. Departures through Honolulu twice a week also make island combination vacations a possibility for clients who are already Hawaii bound.
Once on the main island of Viti Levu, visitors can experience a wide range of activities from cooking classes to whitewater rafting. Note that all motorized activities are always complimentary on Fiji so be sure to take advantage. There are plenty of restaurants to try as well and our strong CAD (the exchange rate is 1:2) makes for great shopping.
Located just a few kilometers to the north and north west of Viti Levu are the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands which are accessible via catamaran, helicopter or seaplane. These islands offer the true beach getaway experience that everyone imagines when they think of the South Pacific and is where you'll find Vomo, recently voted 1 of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. For a bit more adventure clients can hop over to Taveuni which is known as the garden island of Fiji. Here is where you'll see the most exotic flora and fauna on the islands.
March to October are the optimal months to visit when the temperature hovers between 20-25 °C, but for those who desire full on heat as an escape to our winter cold, November through March is the time to go. "Canadians are great snowbirds and love to stay long," said Cawanibuka. So how long is the right amount of time to stay and soak up all the sun and sights that Fiji has to offer? According to Cawanibuka a 7-10 night getaway is ideal to combine different experiences which would include a few days on the main islands, a few days on the out islands then back again before returning home.
Fiji may not be around the corner, but is definitely worth the trip. Cawanibuka put it in perspective with these words: "If you can manage the plane ride, it's just a few hours of sleep, a couple of movies and a nice meal with beautiful people and you're out there in paradise in no time."
Agents are encouraged to become Fiji specialists by registering at
http://www.matai.fiji.travel/. Benefits include invitations to exclusive Matai Famil Programmes as well as access to the Matai Incentives Programmes. Attendees of this Canadian roadshow who become specialists and make bookings from Canadian cities have the chance to win a trip to Fiji. Good luck!
Representative from Malalo
Island; Likuliku Lagoon; Tropica Island
Resort; VOMO; World Resorts of
Distinction; Boomerang Tours and Goway.