Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Real Survivor Fiji – Tale Of Three Reports

Fiji’s Minister for Tourism, Labour and Environment: Mrs Bernadette Rounds Ganilau – Image Credit: e-Travel Blackboard

The Real Survivor Fiji – Tale Of Three Reports

The internet is a fascinating resource, one can receive news alerts from all over the world … or just one country and learn about how things are getting along.

For example, at the end of this week, at MAXINE, we had these three news items contained in one news alert for the island nation of Fiji.

This excerpted from e-Travel Blackboard -

Tourism is the way forward for Fiji,
says Fiji’s Minister for Tourism, Labour and Environment.
e-Travel Blackboard - Friday, May 18, 2007

At this week’s Bula Fiji Tourism Exchange (BFTE), Fiji’s Minister for Labour, Tourism and Environment, Mrs Bernadette Rounds Ganilau spoke with e-Travel Blackboard regarding her predictions for the future of Fiji’s tourism.

Although tourism has suffered greatly from the military coup late last year, Minister Ganilau feels that this downturn is already showing signs of recovery. “[Industry stakeholders] are moving even though the movement is not reciprocating from overseas,” she says, “Although I think that numbers are still healthy despite all the travel advisories and media reports overseas.”

In terms of tourism strategies for the short and long term, Minister Ganilau says, “We are trying to move to a clearer, far reaching tomorrow with the forward looking strategies we are putting in place.” This includes the consolidation of a new tourism development plan as well conducting legislative reform to better suit the needs of Fiji’s tourism industry.
“Tourism is it for Fiji,” says Minister Ganilau, “Tourism the way forward for Fiji. Tourism was opening doors for us when all the doors were shut. When all the doors were closed to us, tourism was leading the way. [At the same time], industry stakeholders are suffering financially, emotionally, and physically in the hopes that one person or a group of people will walk through.”
“We can’t do anything about the budget. We inherited a lemon. So we had to start from somewhere and that included cutting everywhere, tightening belts and being very economical about everything we do,” says Minister Ganilau. This included a 40 precent pay cut by all personnel and administrators.

“I am constantly building bridges and starting new alliances to broaden connections and benefit tourism as well. I definitely think that the cabinet have great faith in tourism,” Minister Ganilau adds.

Mr. Tony Whitton, a representative from the Tourism Action Group (which was re-activated following the coup to help with Fiji’s recovery) said, “Despite all the murmurings in the rest of the world, Fiji remains a safe, hospitable and a resort and holiday experience... It’s important for the industry to come together as one voice and one team to establish the brand Fiji.”

“The resilience of the tourism industry will pay off. Business will be as usual,” admits Minister Ganilau. “When the turnaround is slow, I have a feeling it will be permanent. When it is quick, it is like an onslaught as a result of marketing. I have hope."
Reference Here>>

We really love the quote – “We can’t do anything about the budget. We inherited a lemon.“ – wouldn’t that be … “We stole the lemons and now we are having trouble making lemonade”????

… And this from the Military front -

Does anyone else besides Frank Bainimarama and the military he controls think it is a grand idea to hold a nation hostage to the detriment of the commerce and freedoms of the peoples of the nation - Fiji? - Image Credit: CYBER DIVER News Network

Fiji military closes blogs critical of government and army
The Associated Press - Published: May 18, 2007

SUVA, Fiji: Fiji's military has blocked access to several Web sites that contained damaging allegations against the army and members of the interim government, a senior officer said Friday.

Fiji Land Force Commander Col. Pita Driti said access was cut Thursday to the Web journals, or blogs, which he said were full of lies and a threat to national security.
Driti said three blogs, "resistfrankscoup," "intelligensiya" and "fijishamelist" all contained "lies and agitation."

"They are all fighting for one cause and saying the same thing," said Driti. "All we are trying to say is the blog sites are full of lies and deception."

The three sites advocated passive resistance against the military-backed government, including urging Fijians not to go to work.

They also regularly posted critical comments of the government and military, including Bainimarama, and slammed the administration's ongoing crackdown on corruption as a "farce" as it failed to result in any arrests.

FINTEL, the company that governs Fiji's Internet access, confirmed the Home Affairs Ministry had approached it to shut off access to the blogs, said Chief Executive Sakaraia Tuilakepa.
Driti said the military would continue to hunt down bloggers critical of the government, noting emergency regulations remain in place in the wake of the coup, and "people should realize that certain freedoms are restricted, including freedom of speech."

"When we get to these bloggers we will take them up to the barracks and warn them of the dangers of what they are doing. They will just be warned and advised," he said.

Since the coup there have been hundreds of reported cases of people being detained, threatened, intimidated and in some cases beaten. Most such reports have been denied by military chiefs.
Read All>>

The top quote being - "people should realize that certain freedoms are restricted, including freedom of speech." – this should not set well with the citizens of a formally free and democratic nation.

The websites advocated passive resistance against the military-backed government, including urging Fijians not to go to work … this may not be a real problem in that there is little work to be had because the world does not want to visit a JAIL run by the military.

A jail is a jail even though it may be located in a cultural island paradise!

Of course, there is always “The Fire Sale” … this excerpted from the CYBER DIVER News Network (a report from Fiji Daily Post) -

Desperate Fiji resorts cut rates in half
Powered by CDNN - CYBER DIVER News Network

SUVA, Fiji (17 May 2007) -- Hotels and resorts in Fiji have now resorted to discounts of up to 50 percent to try to lure tourists to Fiji.

Tourism Action Group Chair Damend Goundar said, "They are now unable to come up with any new strategies because the hotels and resorts have done all they can."

Goundar said the main factor, keeping tourists from coming to Fiji was the continued extension of the Public Safety Regulation.

He said the Fiji Visitors Bureau should be given additional funding to better market Fiji in overseas markets.

The Tourism Action Group (TAG) was set up to revive the flagging fortunes of the tourism industry after the December 5 coup.

It has had the benefit of donations from stakeholders in the industry and the Interim Government.

TAG was instrumental in reviving the industry after the 2000 crisis but there are indications that the after-effects of the 2006 coup on the industry would be far more devastating.

An industry insider pointed to the large number of workers in the industry left jobless after last year's military coup.
Reference Here>>

Jobless due to the coup … NOT THE INTERNET, Commodore Frank!

Does anyone else besides Frank Bainimarama and the military he controls think it is a grand idea to hold a nation hostage to the detriment of the commerce and freedoms of the peoples of the nation - FIJI?

Again, no one wants to visit a JAIL!

1 comment:

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