A number of Fiji properties are set to open faster than expected in the wake of the devastating TC Winston, which bore down on the nation last weekend.
This update follows on from a previous update published on HM last Friday Feb 26.
Up on the North Shore of the main island Viti Levu, which took a direct hit from the category 5 cyclone, repairs are well underway and properties are expected to open again soon.
Volivoli Beach Resort’s Managing Director, Nick Darling, said the property received a direct hit from the cyclone, “with the eye wall passing directly over us”, however, “we can confirm again that all guests and staff are well and were not injured during the storm”.
“We are fully committed to rebuilding this resort,” he said. “The clean up and rebuild process has already commenced and our carpenters started the re-roofing on Friday 25th February 2016.
“All our existing Volivoli staff have been offered employment in the clean up process and are hard at work on the resort.
“The resort currently has electricity, clean water supply and has our kitchen operational.
“We will have nine rooms operational in six weeks and will be open to the public then.
“Our in house dive operation Ra Divers will commence diving in the next three weeks as our dive shop and boats were spared during this storm sustaining no damage what so ever. The Fiji Siren will be departing with her first resumed trip on the 4th of April 2016.
“We are not only looking forward to rebuilding the existing buildings at Volivoli Beach Resort, we are also very happy to announce that construction of an additional 10 villas will commence during the rebuild process taking our inventory to eight Standard Ocean view rooms, nine Deluxe Ocean View rooms, 11 Premium Ocean Villas and 10 Luxury Ocean View villas.
“Our surrounding communities have suffered much more than we have, and they need immediate assistance.
“We are assisting where we can in this time of need, and support all Government efforts in this time of need.
“We look forward to your support moving forward,” Darling said.
Wananavu Beach Resort, also located on the north shore of Viti Levu, managed to open on Friday (Feb 26), which was an amazing effort.
In a statement, Wananavu Beach Resort General Manager, Allan Carter, said that all of the staff were safe and well and the resort had re-opened.
“Following on from Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston, we wish to advise that all of our staffs are safe and well,” he said.
“However, unfortunately due to the severity of the cyclone many staff have suffered damage and in some instances losses of their house and personnel belongings.
“All our accommodation styles are intact without damage and bookings that have been made for anything past 26 February will be as per [paying guests’] confirmation.
“Full resort services, activities and amenities have been operating from the 26th of February 2016.
“Standard cancellation policy will apply to all bookings other than those that were booked in to travel from 20th February to the 5th of March 2016,” he said.
In the Mamanuca Islands, Ahura’s Malolo Island Resort reopened 0n February 27, while sister property Likuliku Lagoon Resort is set to reopen this Saturday (Mar 5).
Ahura Resorts Group General Manager, Steve Anstey, said the company was pleased to advise that post Cyclone Winston, there has been no structural damage to either resort, just a significant amount of garden debris and other cyclone rubbish to clear.
He said the dedicated resort teams had been busy getting all set for the reopening dates, while all of the surrounding village families are safe and well.
“Our two resorts on Malolo Island have been very fortunate, but many of our fellow Fijians have not been so lucky,” he said. “Tourism is the life-blood of Fiji and is the major employer of the local population – visitors will be even more important now to help the country get back on its feet.
“We have been very humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our past and future guests and travel industry partners, not just for our resort villages and staff, but for Fiji in general.
“We thank them all and look forward to welcoming everyone back to our island paradise very soon,” Anstey said.
On the aid front, the New Zealand Government has announced it is boosting Fiji cyclone aid.
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced a $1.5 million increase to New Zealand’s aid package to Fiji as it recovers from Cyclone Winston. The announcement comes following Minister McCully’s visit to Fiji yesterday and takes New Zealand’s total support to over $4.7 million.
“The devastation caused by Cyclone Winston is very serious. Nearly 55,000 people remain in evacuation centres and the people of Fiji now face the difficult task of rebuilding their lives,” McCully said.
“While humanitarian relief operations are continuing, the response is starting to move into the recovery phase, with a focus on restoring infrastructure such as electricity, water and transport.
“The contribution we have announced today includes $1 million to help repair power lines and infrastructure in some of the worse affected areas, and $500,000 for additional relief supplies and technical support.
“NZDF C-130s are continuing to deliver supplies in support of the relief operation. HMNZS Canterbury will arrive in Fiji tomorrow and is expected to join HMNZS Wellington in the Northern Lau group by the end of the week.
“New Zealand will support the Fiji Government as it works to recover from Cyclone Winston and we are currently developing a wider package of support focused on helping affected communities rebuild,” McCully said.