Kerzner International’s ultra-luxury hospitality brand, One&Only, is set to enter the South Pacific market after it was reported in Fiji that a new “seven-star” resort would be developed in the nation’s Yasawa Islands.
The project has been backed by Doubloon Investment and comprises 50 ultra-luxury resort villa, 12-15 branded residential villas and more. The resort will be built on the island of Nacula, which is 100 kilometres north of Nadi, Viti Levu.
According to the Fiji Sun, Doubloon made the first payment of a lease offer to the local landowners last week.
Other local reports indicate the Gulf-based Kerzner, which owns Doubloon Investment Pte Ltd, recently acquired a tourism lease on Balawi Beach to construct the FJ$300 million luxury resort.
Kerzner International operates a number of brands alongside One&Only, including Atlantis, Rare Finds and its newest addition, SIRO – a hospitality brand focused on holistic health and wellness.
Fiji’s Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya said the island nation’s tourism industry is thriving and this deal is a “great signal” to investors around the world that Fiji is “a great place to invest in”.
“There’s so much to it than just a seven-star. It is a shining example to the rest. It acts as a catalyst to others that want to invest in Fiji. There are fantastic places and properties around Fiji where people can build these resorts,” Minister Koya was reported saying in the Fiji Sun.
Investment Fiji’s CEO Kamal Chetty said this was Doubloon’s first investment in Fiji “and is very important as it will bring new tourists and very high end tourists and investment as more people follow them around the globe.”
Chetty also confirmed with the Fiji Sun that he had been working on the project for two years.
Brent Hill, CEO of Tourism Fiji welcomed the exciting development on social media this week, citing Fiji Sun‘s report that said the project will span high-end villas, residential-style villas, five food outlets, a luxury spa and a beach club.
“All set on one of the most beautiful beaches in the #Yasawas, and with a commitment to environmental sustainability,” Hill said.
In a statement to LATTE, Kerzner didn’t confirm or deny that the new Yasawa Islands project would be for the top-of-the-line One&Only brand. Instead, it said: “Kerzner International confirmed today that the company is currently exploring opportunities to develop a luxury resort in the beautiful and pristine outer islands of Fiji.”
One&Only currently operates 12 resorts around the globe, including One&Only Wolgan Valley in the Blue Mountains of NSW. The brand also has four other properties in the pipeline.
Fiji 12 months on after reopening
Meanwhile, Tourism Fiji released visitor data for the 12 months since reopening to international tourists following border closures for 20 months due to the COVID pandemic.
One year on, visitors from Australia made 55% of the total visitor arrival since reopening which took a historic turn in September when Fiji welcomed 38,950 Aussies in just one month.
In a press release, Tourism Fiji said that alongside buoyant visitor numbers, Fiji has witnessed a change in the trend of visitor stay and spend with visitors now staying for longer (9.7 nights, up from 5 nights pre-COVID-19) and having a higher spend (AU$251 per person, per night, up 12% from pre-COVID-19).
Tourism Fiji said the island nation’s COVID-safe measures under the Care Fiji Commitment program were attributed for the positive uptick.
Hill said the steady increase in international visitors is promising for an economy where tourism is its largest asset, accounting for 40% of the country’s GDP.
“The recovery trajectory for visitor arrivals has exceeded our expectations and the impact can be seen in our economy with tourists buzzing in resorts, towns, and villages as people experience the true Fiji.
“Many hotels and resorts have recorded growth in their Australian visitors and spend. As an example, Australians are now the largest market for Malolo Island Resort accounting for 81% of business.
“Both Plantation Island and VOMO have seen an uplift in bookings by groups of friends, in some cases VOMO has seen up to 10 families or groups of 30 plus friends booking resort residences and villas for the same period, some with a two year wait to align dates,” Hill said.