Tourism toilet gaffe

By Samisoni Pareti

Tourism Fiji, the marketing agency of Fiji as a tourist destination has been forced to issue a public apology following an embarrassing langugage blunder on one of its social media postings overnight.

In a video about everyday Fijian terms posted on its Facebook and Instagram pages, Tourism Fiji used the Fijian word for church – valenilotu – as the meaning of the word ‘toilet.’

The mistake went viral on social media overnight before Tourism Fiji pulled the post and upload an apology in its place before lunch time today.

“Sincere apologies everyone,” states the online apology. “Content fact-checking was clearly inaccurate and the post has since been removed. Apologies for any offence this may have caused,” adds Tourism Fiji.

When IB Online followed this up with a request for an explanation from the office of the Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Fiji, Matthew Stoeckel, his office issued this statement to all the media networks.

“Tourism Fiji would like to apologise for an incorrect translation of an iTaukei word which was posted within a video on our social media accounts that was attempting to showcase every-day Fijian words to our international visitors,” says the TF statement.

“The mistake was due to a mismatch of graphic design and failure of our quality assurance process. The post was removed this morning by Tourism Fiji’s social media team shortly after the organisation became aware of the mistake.

“Tourism Fiji takes full responsibility for the error and sincerely regrets any offence this post may have caused our fellow Fijians. We take this situation very seriously and are reviewing our internal processes to ensure this does not happen again.”

A fully-funded agency of the Fijian Government, Tourism Fiji operates on an annual grant of between $30 to $40  (US$14.5m – US$19.4m) million. It is headquartered in Nadi, close to Nadi International Airport on the west coast of Fiji’s main island.