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).
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%.
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.
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.
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
School of Tourism, Hospitality & Culinary Arts, TMC Academy
- Haywood, K. Michael and Laurel, J. Walsh. Practicing Responsible Tourism. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1996.
- “Fiji Coup” 7 October 2012. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/fiji.html
- “Fiji tourism contributes FJD900 million to economy” 7 October 2012. http://www.eturbonews.com/20828/fiji-tourism-contributes-fjd900-million-economy
- “Fiji Me” 5 October 2012 http://www.fijime.com
- “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
- “Room and bed night occupancy” 5 October 2012 http://www.statsfiji.gov.fj/Economic/Buss.Activity_%20Hotels.htm
- “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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