Conventional Planning

Conventional  master  planning  is  no  longer  sufficient  as  tourism  and  tourism development are prone to fluctuation,  randomness,  and unpredictability (Haywood and  Walsh 103).  The traditional strategic planning model derives from a SWOT analysis  model,  which  involves  defining  the  “fit”  between  internal  and  external  factors.  Strategies  are  then  developed  after  identifying  threats  and  opportunities, strengths  and  weaknesses.  Strategic  tourism planning  is  flawed,  as  the  planning process  is  highly political,  with  chances  of  objectives  detachment.  The tendency towards conservatism and obsession with control breeds a climate of conformity and inflexibility.

In addition to traditional “master” planning, the more strategic  approach should a) focus more on alternatives or options, b) recognize planning as a  subset  of management,  c) assess capacity to act,  d) make fewer assumptions about actors, activities, protocols, and other means as constraints, e) place more emphasis on key or pivotal decisions and choices, f) insist that people in the key roles and functions pay attention to the agenda associated with answering questions such as “what type of community and quality of life are desired” and “what type of tourism is desired”, g) concentrate on issues that  bring a commitment  to develop a game plan,  h) identify stakeholders and ensure their involvement, i) create a change process and management orientation (Haywood and Walsh).

Tourism Objectives

In order to obviate threats of leakage, Fiji incorporated strategies in their tourism objectives: 1) Increase the use of agriculture in hospitality operations on the island, 2)
Encourage local entrepreneurs to invest in hotels and related industries and to employ local people at the senior and middle management levels.  This is done through the assistance of Fiji Development Bank and the Ministry of Tourism (e.g.  Hotel Aid Assistance).  Local landowners of Monasavu for instance, formed Naboubuco Landowners Enterprise Ltd. to develop a mountain resort at Koroni-O. Fiji’s tourism objectives also includes 3) Avoiding adverse effects on local customs and cultures.  They constantly try to seek approval from local inhabitants before allowing hotel and resort constructions in areas other than Viti Lautoka.  The Fiji Tourist Commission was established to broad policies to hide the entire tourism Industry which mandates that they encouraging and develop the Fiji Tourism industry, while taking into account at all times the cultures and customs of the people of Fiji. The  Fiji  Visitors  Bureau  was  set  up  with  a  primary  goal  of  4)  promoting  and marketing Fiji.  However  in  the  article  it  was  mentioned  that  Fiji  lacked  overall marketing for organized island tours, and the lack of developed activities.

Leadership in Fiji

The surrounding communities have criticized Fiji’s leadership especially when the first coup d’état happened, which resulted in the removal of their status with the commonwealth (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/fiji.htm 7 October 2012). The lack of control of the Fijian military was blamed for the coup d’état.

In addition, because 83% of land is owned by Fijians, it makes it difficult for investors to penetrate Fiji, as communal property may not be leased without the consent of the Native Land Trust Board.

Tourism is mainly concentrated in western Viti Levu for the fear of social impacts. The  villages  of  Fiji  are  restricted  to  tribe  members  and  access  is  denied  unless accompanied  by  the  village  chief  or  invited.  Fiji remains mainly untouched by tourism, which preserves their culture; nevertheless that affects their tourism potential Priority is given to locals for undesignated tourism areas; however the insufficiency of local capital to meet total capital requirements poses a problem to achieving their tourism goals. Supply is increasing faster than tourist demands.  This resulted in Fiji’s occupancy hovering around 50%.

Target Market
The  largest  markets  that  contribute  to  Fiji  are  Australians,  Americans,  New Zealanders, and the Japanese; however, these market segments are very different in terms of expectations and needs. The Australians and New Zealanders are very price sensitive and they have very high multiple occupancy. The Americans on the other hand  expects  a  Hawaii  like  vacation  with  similar  experiences  in  terms  of accommodation  and  services.  The Japanese demands amenities and standards of services that are necessary to their culture, which was not provided in Fiji. This market segment also favors stopover traffic but the scope is limited for Fiji as they are a single-destination. Hence it is important for Fiji to select their target market and build facilities and improve their amenities accordingly to their targeted market segment to make best use of its unique competencies.

Recommendations
Fiji requires stronger tourism marketing with an identifiable identity. To many people Fiji is akin to the sister that Hawaii never had. The Fiji tourism board should invest more money in brand identity. They should also create sustainability plans as tourism and  agriculture  makes  up  90%  of  its  foreign  export  earnings
(http://www.eturbonews.com/20828/fiji-tourism-contributes-fjd900-million-economy 7 October 2012). In order to meet Fiji’s tourism potential, they could work hand in hand with some tribes and create cultural tours and market themselves as a cultural destination.  To broaden  their  market  segment,  select  islands  could  also  be  transformed  for  eco-tourism.

Updates
As  of  2011,  Fiji  boasts  a  total  of  9,938  rooms  (http://www.statsfiji.gov.fj/Key%20Stats/Business%20Activity/3.15_hotel%20analysis%20by%20occupancy.pdf 5 October 2012) with 5 regular international airlines flying visitors to their destination (http://traveltips.usatoday.com/airlines-fly-nadi-fiji-35330.html 5 October 2012). New developments were also allowed in Kandavu Islands, which was not rejected in the 90’s (http://www.fijime.com 5 October 2012).  Fiji also introduced several new activities such as golf, rugby and surfing. However, occupancy rate has not changed much at 45.8% in 2010 (http://www.statsfiji.gov.fj/Economic/Buss.Activity_%20Hotels.htm 5 October 2012). According to the Statistics of Bureau, their major market  segment  still  remains  with  Australian  visitors  at  50.3%,  New Zealanders 15.4%, USA 8.4% and Japan at 1.9%. Fiji’s current tourism receipts makes up 25% of total GDP and has introduced over 40,000 full time jobs within local Fijian workforce.

Lim Tjie Siew
Ex-Lecturer
School of Tourism, Hospitality & Culinary Arts, TMC Academy

Bibliography

  1. Haywood, K. Michael and Laurel, J. Walsh. Practicing Responsible Tourism. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1996.
  2. “Fiji Coup” 7 October 2012.  http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/fiji.html
  3.  “Fiji tourism contributes FJD900 million to economy” 7 October 2012. http://www.eturbonews.com/20828/fiji-tourism-contributes-fjd900-million-economy
  4. “Fiji Me” 5 October 2012 http://www.fijime.com
  5. “Hotel Statistics: Analysis by Occupancy and Visitors” 5 October 2012 http://www.statsfiji.gov.fj/Key%20Stats/Business%20Activity/3.15_hotel%20analysis%20by%20occupancy.pdf
  6. “Room and bed night occupancy” 5 October 2012 http://www.statsfiji.gov.fj/Economic/Buss.Activity_%20Hotels.htm
  7. “Visitors arrivals by country” 5 October 2012 http://www.statsfiji.gov.fj/Key%20Stats/Tourism%20&%20Migration/10.7Visitor%20arrv%20by%20cntry%20of%20res.pdf

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