Sofitel Resort Launches New Era Of Fijian Tourism
SOFITEL RESORT LAUNCHES ‘NEW ERA’ OF FIJIAN TOURISM
First new 5-star hotel in two decades has grand opening
23 December 2005 — Fiji’s newest five star resort and spa was officially opened on Saturday night by the Fiji Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase.
The launch of Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa comes at a time when Fiji’s tourism sector is experiencing a period of sustained growth, particularly from the Australian, New Zealand and North American markets. Additional air capacity to Fiji is expected to further increase inbound tourism and conference business.
Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa is Accor’s fourth hotel in Fiji. The group runs another Sofitel on Vomo Island, and earlier this year relaunched the Dominion Hotel as the Mercure Nadi after an extensive renovation. The group recently added the Mocambo Hotel in Nadi, which will be re-branded as a Novotel after a major upgrading programme.
The Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa is owned by Richmond Ltd a joint venture between Air Pacific, Fiji’s international airline and Colonial Fiji Life, part of the Australian Commonwealth Bank Group, one of the largest investment companies in Fiji. The resort will cost F$74 million to develop.
The Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa joins a network of over 180 Sofitels globally, located in some of the world’s most prestigious business and resort destinations including the Riviera, the Caribbean and French Polynesia. There are 30 Sofitel hotels currently operating in the Asia Pacific region, with a further 10 under construction.
The Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa has been built on Denarau Island, a fully integrated tourist destination, conveniently located just 20 minutes from Fiji’s international airport at Nadi. The island is also a popular pre- and post-destination for travellers to the outer islands and within Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island.
The hotel design includes distinctive Fijian features and is spread over 26 acres of landscaped gardens. It comprises 296 rooms and suites, three restaurants and three bars, the largest conference facilities in Fiji, a lagoon–style freeform pool, a full-service resort day spa operated by one of Asia Pacific’s leading spa operators, Kids Club, retail outlets and a wedding chapel. Guests will be able to fully utilise the adjacent world-class Denarau Golf & Racquet Club, which incorporates an 18-hole championship golf course and ten tennis courts.
Air Pacific – which is 51% owned by the Government of Fiji and 46% owned by Qantas – is anticipating considerable growth in the market to Fiji, prompting the need for additional international-standard resort accommodation. An increase of more than 10% is anticipated for visitor numbers in 2006, with the bulk of the growth coming from the Australian, New Zealand and North American markets. The market from Asia is also developing strongly.
Commenting on the launch of the Sofitel, Accor Asia Pacific Managing Director, Michael Issenberg, said that the Sofitel branding will bring a distinctive personality and atmosphere to the resort and will introduce a new level of sophistication befitting a destination of this quality.
Gerald Barrack, Chairman of Richmond Limited, said the decision to upgrade the hotel to Accor’s premier Sofitel brand reflected the growth in demand for upmarket accommodation from Fiji’s principal source markets.
“We have recently undertaken one of the largest investment and modernisation programmes in the history of Air Pacific, and we now have the capacity to significantly increase visitor numbers to the destination,” said Mr Barrack. “To complement this, we have required additional quality accommodation in the market, and Sofitel – which is also expanding rapidly – is the perfect brand to meet this objective.”