12 March 2020

 

FETA Awards gala dinner called off as a show of solidarity

The Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards (FETA) gala dinner which was scheduled to be held this Saturday at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa has been called off.

This follows an emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees where it was unanimously decided to cancel the event in empathy for the tourism industry and the challenges that are emerging.

“We have had to make a very tough decision to cancel the 23rd Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards gala dinner in support of our tourism stakeholders and their employees who are beginning to face very challenging times due to the disruption to travel demand that the COVID-19 virus is having globally,” FETA Chair of the Board of Trustees, Bill Whiting said.

“We could not go ahead with the gala dinner and party whilst our colleagues and friends in the tourism industry are beginning to face really tough times”.

The decision was made after consultation with tourism stakeholders who indicated that the forward bookings are of great concern with a significant decline in demand for the normal peak season months. As a result many businesses are beginning to cut back on staff hours, staff are taking leave without pay and there is increasingly general belt tightening. An indication of the serious drop in demand from a major source market is the decision by Air New Zealand to significantly reduce capacity to Fiji from late March. Whiting said.

“We are in uncharted territory and it is impossible to predict how long and severe the downturn will be”.

“The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has revised its 2020 international tourist arrivals and is estimating a loss of US$30 to US$50 billion in international tourism receipts.”

“All the 2019 winners of the 13 categories together with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement and Visionary Award winners will be recognised and presented with their trophies in a smaller event that we will host at a date to be decided,” Whiting added.

“The Trustees and the Organising Committee of the Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards would like to thank all our sponsors and partners who have accepted the decision and in this are also showing their support to the Fiji tourism industry.

For those who have bought tickets please be assured that FETA will be giving a full refund. All refunds are expected to be processed within a week.”