BY DONNA PARKIN — The Fijian people were the big winners over a memorable weekend of celebrations in perfect weather at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort.
Over two hectic days, the resort oversaw the official opening of a kindergarten and library built as part of its voluntourism program; hosted a corporate Christmas party attended by Outrigger executives from Thailand and Hawai‘i, as well as local and international media and industry colleagues; and took part in a charity golf day that hit their fundraising target.
The building of the kindergarten was sponsored by Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort as a community tourism project. More than 2000 resort guests donated some of their holiday time to work on the project at the Conua Primary School in the Sigatoka Valley.
Kini Sarai, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort activities manager, said: “For ordinary villagers, raising funds to send their kids to school is already a struggle and raising funds to build a building like the kindergarten would take years. For Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort to turn up and say this is what we wish to build for you is the thing of dreams,” Kini said.
The opening of the kindergarten coincided with the opening of the Conua School’s Jonathan McDaniel Library. The 3000 book library was donated by Mrs. Jennifer McDaniel, the widow of the late Jonathan McDaniel, who had visited the resort earlier in the year. Mrs. McDaniel, from Omaha, Nebraska, said it had been an honour and privilege to fund The Jonathan McDaniel Library.
The resort’s next community tourism project will involve construction of a trade training workshop at the Sigatoka Special Needs School.
Speaking at the corporate Christmas party, Fijian Attorney-General and Minister for the Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum praised Outrigger’s connection with its local community. “The wonderful thing about Outrigger is that it believes in investment in our people and I think that sometimes many organisations forget that the organisation is only as good as its people,” he said.
Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort General Manager Peter Hopgood and Outrigger Vice President Sales and Marketing Asia Pacific Mark Simmons also presented Minister Sayed-Khaiyum with a donation for the Prime Minister’s National Relief and Rehabilitation Fund.
Led by Peter, over the past four years Fiji’s Coral Coast hoteliers have funded the building of a new maternity ward, upgrades to the outpatients’ ward and built a medivac helipad facility at Sigatoka District Hospital with money raised at the annual charity golf day.
Peter said the tournament was an excellent way of raising money for the local hospital and well as being a very social occasion.
Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort executives and hosts now look forward to the busy festive season and providing a special Fijian “Bula!” Christmas for the hundreds of guests, most from Australia and New Zealand, who have booked to stay over the holiday break.
Vinaka vakalevu (thank you very much) to all the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort hosts for making the weekend a very successful and memorable occasion.