Workshop empowers tourism operators

THE power hours workshop supports the vision of the Fijian Government to strengthening our Fijian tourism industry and leveraging its performance to benefit all Fijians.

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya made these comments at the opening of the Fiji Tourism Power hours Training Workshop in Suva on Monday.

He said Government’s vision was also to enhance sustainable growth and economic contribution of all MSMEs in Fiji.

“The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism in this new financial year has been provided appropriate funding and tasked to ensure the further development of MSMEs to help propagate jobs, generates income, stimulate entrepreneurship, eradicate poverty and ultimately advance the livelihood of all Fijians,” Mr Koya told participants.

He encouraged local entrepreneurs to start small and build their empires; from the mainland to the highlands and on to the islands.

“Think local, grow your brand and go global,” he said.

Meanwhile, South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) chief executive officer Chris Cocker said the MSME operators were the backbone of the tourism industry, not only for Fiji but for the Pacific as well.

“They can take new ideas from this workshop, go back and action them.

“As you can see there’s a lot of turn out so you can see they are hungry for new ideas; the key is to inspire them,” he said.

He said this was a regional workshop which started in Tonga and now Fiji and the idea was to replicate it in all the member countries.

“If you look at our current membership, a lot of them are just the big hotels; the big operators so we decided increase awareness of the SPTO to the MSMEs. And I’ve said before more than 90 per cent of the tourism industry are the MSMEs,” Mr Cocker said.

“I always know that Fiji will have a very high response from tourism MSME operators and if all goes well we’ll probably have another round in Nadi because majority of our tourism industry people are there.”

Trainer Warwick McCormack of LearnFast Centre in New Zealand said the idea is to train MSMEs on how to become better businesses.

“Most of them lack capital and they don’t know how to become bigger businesses; the idea about today is to get them to be the best that they can get; give them new ideas, new inspiration and get them to talk to other people, get to know their problems and solutions.

“This is what powerhours is all about; short, sharp one hour workshops and enable them to get some ideas of how to better their businesses,” Mr McCormack said.

He said the response with 53 MSME tourism operators turning for the workshop up just showed the depth Fiji had in its tourism industry.

The workshop was organised by the SPTO in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.