Fiji tourism industry celebrates leaders and innovators at annual awards

ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards

The Sheraton Fiji Golf Resort and Spa sparkled with glamour and excitement as the venue of the 2023 ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards on Saturday night. 

The event, attended by 700 tourism operators and stakeholders, celebrated the hard work and dedication of individuals and organisations within Fiji’s thriving tourism sector.

The theme for the night was “Celebrating Tourism Success,” and attendees, dressed in glamorous tribal fusion-themed costumes, gathered to acknowledge the hard work and contributions of stakeholders in the tourism sector. 

The event featured 20 awards across various categories, recognising outstanding achievements within the industry.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Viliame Gavoka, highlighted Fiji’s robust tourism sector and unveiled a pipeline of investments totalling FJ$1.3 billion. 

Deputy Prime Minister Gavoka emphasised the pivotal role of tourism in driving investments and outlined ongoing projects set to inject significant economic vitality into the nation.

He announced the imminent launch of the Vanua Levu Tourism Development program, backed by the World Bank, with a US$200 million investment earmarked for the northern region. 

Gavoka says the initiative aims to bolster tourism infrastructure and enhance visitor experiences in the area.

Fijian Deputy Prime Minister, Viliame Gavoka

Addressing the diverse audience at the awards ceremony, Gavoka also emphasised the collective success and shared achievements within Fiji’s tourism industry. 

He expressed gratitude for the contributions of stakeholders, underscoring their pivotal role in driving innovation and sustainable growth.

“When the tourism industry thrives, so does the economy and other sectors. Visitor spending stimulates demand in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, local businesses, infrastructure improves, and communities prosper,” Gavoka remarked.

The Deputy PM noted that the industry’s collective efforts  led to an estimated 8.2% growth in the economy in 2023. 

Meanwhile, Debra Sadranu, Chair of the Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards, also acknowledged the dedication of all individuals and entities involved in the industry. 

“Our theme, Celebrating Tourism Success, speaks volumes,” Sadranu remarked.

“We are a tourism destination that displays excellence in all that we do, fuelled by the Fiji spirit and its people.”

The event honoured outstanding achievements across various categories, with winners ranging from rising stars to established industry leaders. 

Navi Fong of VOU Dance Company

Notable winners included Navi Fong of Vou for the Rising Star Award, Vilitati Rokovesa of Talanoa Treks for the Cultural Tourism Champion Award, and Rosie Holidays for the Community Corporate Social Responsibility Award.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Visionary Award: Andre Viljoen (Fiji Airways)

Lifetime Award: Malakai Gucake

Dixon Setto Tourism Leader: Fantasha Lockington

Rising Star Award: Navi Fong (Vou Company)

Cultural Tourism Champion: Vilitati Rokovesa (Talanoa Treks)

Employee Excellence in Service: Harry Hatch (South Sea Cruises)

Community Corporate Social Responsibility: Rosie Holidays

Environmental Sustainability: Sheraton Fiji Golf & Beach Resort

Inbound & Transport Operations: Tewaka

Tourism Industry Support: South Seas Cruises Group

Excellence in Food Tourism Award: Royal Davui Island Resort

Specialized Tour Services: South Sea Sailing

Accommodation Budget/Hostel: Likuri Island Resort

Accommodation Superior: Double Tree Resort

Accommodation Deluxe: Malolo Island Resort

Accommodation Luxury: InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa

Accommodation Luxury Under 50 rooms: Vomo Island Resort and Sixth Sense Resort

Destination Marketing: Marriott International

Wedding Operator Award: Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa

Spa Operator Award: Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa

Dive Operator: Whitetip Marine Adventure

C&I Operator: Rosie Holidays

Training and Development Award: Vou Dance Company

Accommodation Deluxe winner, Malolo Island Resort