Fiji continuing to ramp up luxury profile

Tourism chief speaks exclusively with LATTE

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A cluster of newbuild upmarket resort openings in Fiji over the past 18 months has contributed significantly to the South Pacific holiday hotspot being viewed by Australians not only as a family-friendly destination, but as a location for a luxurious getaway, according to Tourism Fiji‘s Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Stoeckel.

Australian-born Stoeckel is two years into his role leading Fiji’s tourist board, a period in which the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, Kokomo Private Island and, most recently, Six Senses Fiji have opened their doors.

Kokomo Private Island – 3 Bedroom Villa Living Room

“Fiji is well known as a holiday destination for kids. Our research has shown that we are less known for our adults-only and couples’ retreats, or luxury-based experiences,” Stoeckel told LATTE in Sydney this week. “That is something the team has been working on. Broadening the understanding that Fiji actually has quite a diverse product offering.”

“It’s great for family holidays, and great for family holidays at luxury resorts, but also for couples, honeymooners and other once-in-a-lifetime trips,” the former Destination NSW executive explained.

There certainly hasn’t been a shortage of luxury hotels and resorts in Fiji before these latest developments, with the five-star offering including the likes of VOMO, Likuliku, Yasawa Island Resort, Dolphin Island, Matamanoa Island Resort, Namale, Royal Davui, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Turtle Island and Laucala Island. All of which are off the mainland, and many are marketed specifically to the affluent US traveller.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort Overwater Bure

“Whilst we have always had a strong luxury segment, with these new developments we now have more critical mass of luxury product which has been a stimulus for us to undertake additional promotional activities targeting the luxury market,” Stoeckel said.

Many of Fiji’s well established premium hotels and resorts are also lifting their game to appeal to the upmarket traveller. Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa at Denarau, traditionally a family-focused resort, has developed an adults-only space; Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort has invested millions in a resort-wide facelift and Hideaway Fiji Resort & Spa on the Coral Coast has opened a sister property targeting the couples segment, north of Nadi at the future tourism precinct of Vuda.

Six Senses Fiji

“There are a lot of refurbishments on the resorts coming up, either on Denarau, the mainland or on islands – everywhere. It is really encouraging,” Stoeckel said.

“We’ve certainly noticed a shift in consumer behaviour towards a more luxury offering. And a lot of resorts are responding by putting in plunge pools to all their rooms, and other additions to bring them up to a standard they believe consumers are looking for. There will be a lot [of development] happening after this peak season.”

Stoekel said Fiji’s destination wedding market was also thriving.

“The diversity of the offering makes it appealing. You can come to Fiji and have a traditional wedding in a chapel, or a romantic beachside elopement, or a casual wedding in the garden of a resort with a few close family and friends, or you can select an island and arrange a buyout for the ultimate in privacy.

“I hate to use the saying ‘something for everyone’, but the wedding market in Fiji really does seem to have all bases covered.”

On the trade-front, Stoeckel revealed to LATTE that Tourism Fiji’s agent training platform, Matai Specialist, will be relaunched before the end of the year, having been given a “once-over”.

“We understand that it’s a critical tool between the way we communicate to the trade and making sure the information is really easily digestible. Our team of trade partnership managers around the world have been working on the overhaul. The benefits of the Matai Specialist program are not only about increasing knowledge and being on a mailing list of the latest updates, but it provides opportunities to participate in famils, tradeshows and competitions. Plus consumer enquiries received by Tourism Fiji are steered to qualified specialists in their local area.”

More information on becoming a Matai Specialist, see

Lead image – Vomo Island Fiji – The BeacHouse, lower deck 

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