A labour of love involving more than 800 guests and hosts, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort’s first Community Tourism Project has been officially opened.
At a cost in excess of FJD$200,000, the large community bure (meeting hall) project, was constructed at Conua Primary School in the Sigatoka Valley over a 14 month period.
It is the centrepiece of the village, is built to withstand tropical cyclones and has the capacity to accommodate over 100 people for both school and village meetings and community events.
It was officially opened on November 28 by special guests, Fiji’s Minister for Industry Tourism and Trade, Faiyaz Koya and Outrigger Resorts Managing Director Asia Pacific, Darren Edmonstone, coinciding with Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort’s 15th birthday.
Over the past year, guests have volunteered their time over one or two days during their holiday to assist the resort’s engineering team with all aspects of the construction phase from basic labour work to more skilled trades.
From a participation fee of FJD$100 for adults and FJD$60 children, 70% was channelled into the project for building materials while the remaining 30% covered the costs of the full-day excursion.
Parents and their children who took part in the program were able to interact with the local school children, share a bowl of kava with the local villagers and complete the day with a visit to one of Fiji’s most significant cultural sites, Tavuni Hill Fort.
The project was driven by Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort’s General Manager Peter Hopgood.
“Our resort operates as one big vuvale (family) and I think that guests pick up on that and were only too happy to pitch in and help because they felt part of a larger family group and want to give something back to the community,” Hopgood said.
“We have even had corporate groups, social groups and a father and son group from Newport Rugby Club in Sydney come to stay at the resort specifically to make a direct-action contribution to the project,” he said.
As a special surprise at the opening event Outrigger Fiji also donated four new computers to the School.
Completely overwhelmed, the School Principle Mrs Finau said that the resorts involvement with the school has been a blessing from God.
“The teachers and school children were eternally thankful for the generous support from the resort,” she said.
The initiative underpins Outrigger’s global commitment to provide a deeply engaging holiday experience for its guests and to provide a dedicated commitment to the local culture and community.
Hopgood told HM a new community tourism project will commence in 2016 and details would be unveiled soon.