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Honourable Speaker of Parliament,
Honourable Cabinet Ministers,
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corp,
Chairman and Directors of the Fiji National Provident Fund,
Turaga na Tui Nalolo and the Vanua of Nalolo,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Cola vina and a very good afternoon to you all.
I’m delighted to be here in Momi Bay as we add another iconic resort to our stunning line-up of world-class accommodation in Fiji – the spectacularly beautiful, Fiji Marriot Resort at Momi Bay.

Seeing how far this project has come is nothing short of amazing. I can hardly recognize this complex from when I was here two and a half years ago. Back then, it was neglected and forgotten – a far cry from the beauty that surrounds us today.

Like so many other parts of Fiji in recent years, this entire bay has come alive. Now it is full of energy, excitement and enormous possibilities for the Fijian people and for those all around the world planning to visit our shores.

It only takes a quick look around to appreciate the grand scale of this resort facility. It contains 250 rooms, including 22 open-water bure villas over Fiji’s first-ever man-made lagoon. It has three swimming pools, top of the line restaurants and exceptional views looking out over the lagoon and the ocean.

For the Fijian people, this is far more than just a resort, this entire facility represents opportunity. And unfortunately, before my Government breathed new life into this project, that opportunity was long-promised and long-withheld.

But today marks the end of the saga of neglect and disappointment. Today, what was once a stain on Fiji’s reputation is a shining jewel on top of the crown of our tourism industry. Today is a proud day – a day of celebration that shows how far we have come as a nation.

We have indeed come quite a long way. My Government’s unprecedented reforms for Fiji have brought our economy seven straight years of sustained economic growth – and the tourism sector has been a key driver of that prosperity.

Last year, by the grace of God, most of our tourism areas were spared from the destruction of Cyclone Winston, and it was the adaptability of this industry that carried our economy into positive growth in the aftermath of the most severe storm to ever hit Fiji.

And as of today, our tourism industry is even stronger. This official opening has been highly anticipated and it’s safe to say that this new resort is worthy of all the excitement. But what we don’t see when we look at these top notch amenities, is the vast amount of work necessary to make it all happen.

This has been a massive project for Fiji – one that my Government was keen on. And it took nearly 700 hard-working men and women to make it a reality.

So already, this project has given hundreds of our people the chance to gain invaluable experience as part of an international development project – passing on skills they will carry with them their entire careers. And when this resort is at peak capacity, it will bring 400 new jobs to Fiji – and that doesn’t even include the job opportunities for tour operators, duty free shops, beverage suppliers, the handicraft vendors, the fruit sellers on the high way, and all the other Fijian enterprises that grow alongside our tourism industry.

This all goes to show, that with the right vision, the right plan and the right partners, Team Fiji can get the job done. And if we stick to that recipe, the best years of tourism in Fiji are all ahead of us.

Speaking of the right partners – I’d like to take some time to recognise the organisations that made this all possible, the FNPF Board, and in particular the Chairman Mr Ajith Kodagoda, for their work rehabilitating this investment. Under Mr Kodagoda’s leadership, the FNPF has been reformed to make it an internationally recognised superannuation fund that has strong and transparent governance procedures which guarantees our and our children’s pension funds.

The Marriot International – who have marked their foray into Fiji with this new resort. Vinaka vakalevu, and welcome. We are very glad to have you in Fiji. And the construction partner, Fletcher’s Building Limited who have proved themselves reliable through this entire process.

Finally, I want to thank the Vanua Nalolo, our landowners and the wider Momi community. You’ve seen first-hand this project started, abandoned, and restarted again. You’ve endured the false promises and countless disruptions to your way of life before we came in with the new vision and support to this project. But today, your patience has been rewarded.
Congratulations to everyone involved in bringing this development to Fiji. It really makes our position in the luxury tourism market all the more enviable.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I now have much pleasure in launching the new Fiji Marriot Resort at Momi Bay
Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

© 2018 Ministry of Communications