BY DONNA PARKIN – It was three out of three for Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort when it scooped the pool with a trifecta of awards at the annual ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards.
The resort was named “Best Deluxe Resort” while its fine dining restaurant Ivi won the award for “Best Visitor Dining Experience.”
Outrigger Fiji’s executive chef and honorary president of the Fiji Chefs Association, Shailesh Naidu, was named as the industry’s most outstanding “Tourism Leader.”
Resort General Manager Peter Hopgood praised his team for the excellence of its efforts in what he said had been a challenging year.
“Each member of the Outrigger team supports the other and the results of that are to be seen in these awards,” he said.
“I’m particularly thrilled for Chef Naidu as recipient of the Tourism Leader award.
“He has truly dedicated himself to the industry not only in achieving his own professional goals but for being an outstanding mentor to young trainees of which 90 percent are now working as chefs in various outlets at the resort.
“He is also the mastermind behind the Schools Master Chef Challenge which is now in its fifth year and attracts students from over 15 competing schools from Nadroga, Nadi and Lautoka regions,” said Peter
Speaking at the awards ceremony at Denarau’s Sheraton Fiji Resort and Spa, Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said that it was amazing that in the year Fiji was hit by the biggest cyclone ever to make landfall in the southern hemisphere, tourism numbers grew.
“Our visitors kept coming and thanks to the tourism industry, Fiji as a whole bounced back faster than anyone expected,” he said.
Outrigger Fiji’s sister property, Castaway Island, Fiji was named as a finalist in three categories – tourism sustainability, accommodation deluxe and visitor dining experience.