A Rosie outlook on Fiji tourism
Image courtesy of http://likulikulagoon.com
Close your eyes and picture this: sparkling blue waters, picturesque coral reefs, pristine beaches and tumbling crystal waterfalls. You’re in Fiji.
The heart of the Pacific Islands, 333 islands, home to more than 850,000 people. Fiji has long been a favourite holiday destination for hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.
In 1974 it was a different story. When local Rosie Whitton had a vision that tourism had the power to improve the social and economic wellbeing of every Fijian, she didn’t realise it would have such a profound effect on her entire community.
From that vision and a simple business, Rosie’s Tours now operates full service destination management of Fiji Islands to more than 30 international markets. But the vision of the future continues.
In 2005, Rosie's son, Tony Whitton and his team wanted to create a revolutionary resort, something that had never been done before in Fiji: over-water bungalows.
Adverse weather and construction technology limitations, among other factors, made Tony’s vision seem impossible to some.
“At that time, you had every single reason not to construct over-water bungalows,” he says.
Tony remembers they developed a design concept and pitched it to a whole series of banks but interest was limited. “ANZ was the only bank that really stood with us, understood our dream, and understood that there were going to be risks,” he says.
“But if we pulled it off, (the bank could see) the tremendous rewards that would be there.”
Local knowledge, deep insight and expertise of Fiji and its economy allows ANZ to share those kinds of risks, to support a vision and businesses and customers across the country with full banking services. ANZ also shares a vision of community, the philosophy behind financial literacy programs such as MoneyMinded.
Speaking highly of some of the local champions the bank has helped to grow, ANZ’s Country Head Fiji & Head of Commercial, Pacific, Saud Minam is proud of the partnership with Rosie’s Tours.
“As one of the most prominent local names in the industry, we’re pleased Rosie Tours has chosen to bank with ANZ for more than a decade and continues to allow us to support their business dreams,” he says.
The multiplier effect: A key driver of growth
As the back-bone of Fiji’s economy, tourism has been a key driver of growth over the past decade. A healthy pipeline of tourism-related projects in Fiji has a multiplier effect on the economy.
Fiji’s real GDP growth is largely driven by industries reliant on tourism. The sector is the largest employer and largest foreign exchange earner, with a number of key industries including transport, accommodation and food services, wholesale and retail trade being dependent on the inbound tourists.
Saud highlights the importance of supporting the industry, helping to grow local businesses. “As the largest commercial bank in Fiji and having been associated with this sector for long time, we have an important role to play in supporting tourism,” he says.
And Tony? “We’re a family owned business and we are Fijian and we just feel very blessed to be part of this amazing and dynamic industry.”
Leading the Pacific way