SPTO host Marshal Islands Visitors Authority staff members

(L-R): Rusila Drekeni (SPTO Staff), Yolanda Mares and Loretta Lori deBrum (MIVA Staff) visiting Rosie Holidays Nadi.

(L-R): Rusila Drekeni (SPTO Staff), Yolanda Mares and Loretta Lori deBrum (MIVA Staff) visiting Rosie Holidays Nadi.

SPTO played host to two staff members from the Marshal Islands Visitors Authority (MIVA) for a one week orientation and famil visit and we caught up with Lori deBrum, Assistant Marketing, Information, Special Project, Research & Statistics Officer and asked her about her experience in Fiji.

(L-R): MIVA Staff, Yolanda Mares and Loretta Lori deBrum

(L-R): MIVA Staff, Yolanda Mares and Loretta Lori deBrum

Is this your first time to Fiji?

I’ve been transiting through Fiji but this is my first time to stay for over a day.

How does Fiji compare to your country in terms of the tourism infrastructure?

Fiji is well developed and advanced in tourism infrastructure.  A small island destination such as the Marshall Islands, remote in the middle of the northern pacific has only 2 main hotels and 4 backpacker hostels, we are here to experience the Fijian hospitality and take back our experience.

(Photos courtesy: www.outrigger.com

(Photos courtesy: www.outrigger.com

What was the highlight of your trip?

The highlight of our trip was getting hands on training, understanding the difference between standard hotels and 5 star hotels as well sightseeing, witnessing a meet and greet at the airport, understanding how an inbound tour operates, tasting the local foods; we were practically walking in the shoes of a tourist. This is invaluable for our work back home in the industry.

Photos courtesy: www.outrigger.com

Photos courtesy: www.outrigger.com

What are some of the takeaway lessons from your training and time at SPTO and how will you apply this to your work back home?

For a country that is just starting in the tourism industry, it is important that we learn the advantages and disadvantages in developments, plannings and how we can adjust through our countries transition leaning towards sustainable tourism.  We learned a great factor in the importance of data (inbound and outbound, domestic and international) in planning. Sustainable tourism is the way forward for Pacific Tourism.

Photo courtesy of Tourism Fiji

Photo courtesy of Tourism Fiji

What was your first impression of Denarau/Outrigger?

WOW!!  travelers paradise. Seeing and experiencing these resorts helps put into perspective how we need to develop key areas of sustainable tourism to get world class properties without jeopardising our natural resources.

Photos courtesy: www.outrigger.com

Photos courtesy: www.outrigger.com

While observing Rosie’s did you find anything useful to share with colleagues?

From our visit to Rosies, I was just in awe at how much it has expanded and still on going after all this years, stronger than ever.  From my personal view, It is important that the RMI starts off with just one inbound tour operator. We have so much niche that we can add onto a tour as well as doing our own bookings, we just need help into starting it up.  Having had that walk through at Rosies, we opened up a line of communication with the head of the travel academy and with SPTO officials that can help us start off with some basic training from hotels as well as those in the tourism business.

In 5 words describe Fiji?

  1. BULA!!!!   2. FIJI GOLD  3. LANDSCAPE 4. LOCAL PRODUCE 5. FARM/MARKETS
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