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The General-Manager of Shangri-La Fijian Resort and Spa;
Representative of the Owners of Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts;
The Management Team of Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa;
Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Cola Vina and a very good morning to you all.

I’m delighted to be here this morning at Shangri-La’s beautiful Fijian Resort and Spa as we celebrate a half century of excellence in service from one of Fiji’s most historic and renowned hotels.

I’d like to begin by acknowledging our traditional landowners and community representatives from the Tikina of Cuvu. Without your vision and your commitment, none of what we celebrate today would be possible, so thank you for being with us this morning.

This beautiful property is far more than just a Resort, it is a true piece of Fijian history. I remember as a youngster this resort was simply called “The Fijian” and since those early days, your resort has not only been a proud fixture of our Tourism Industry, it has been a shining example of what a business can achieve.

Your relationship with the Tikina of Cuvu has set a very high standard for every operator in our Tourism Industry as – for decades – your resort has served as a model partnership between a business and a local community. You’ve shown how to create a win-win situation that benefits developers, ordinary Fijians and all of Fiji.

And, as others have followed your example, you’ve indirectly helped bring prosperity and development to communities throughout Fiji.

In the early years, before we emerged as the world-class tourism destination we are today, your hotel was a bench- mark for setting standards for the service and innovation. Indeed it was an inspiration to many of the properties that emerged in the Tourism Industry in Fiji. Every Fijian appreciates your contribution to building up our Tourism Industry and enhancing our reputation as unique island destination.

But you’ve done more than simply promote Fiji, you’ve played a big part in helping protect our environment today and for future generations.

Your marine education centre is the only one of its kind in Fiji, along with your dedicated community engagement programme under your brand’s Embrace Care for People and Sanctuary Care for Nature projects. You have my sincere thanks for the work you do to help protect our environment and raise awareness on environmental issues. Indeed such initiatives compliment my Government’s efforts on the domestic and international fronts to bring about more awareness and action in protecting our ecosystems, our oceans and tackling climate change.

We have been given the privilege as the first island country in the world to have the presidency of the UNFCCC negotiations.

So you can be rest assured that when I am in Bonn in a few weeks’ time as President of COP23, I will be highlighting and bringing to the fore the challenges that we as Fijians, as Pacific Islanders face and what we all as global citizens can do to bring about tangible outcomes for the whole of humanity.

As you all know, we’ve just celebrated Fiji’s 47th Anniversary of our Independence, so the history of your resort nearly matches the history of our own beloved Fiji. And as Fiji has developed, more so now than ever before, so has your resort. Your recent investment and development is testament to the confidence and belief you hold in Fiji. Your recent investment and development shows your willingness to work with my Government to improve our nation’s productive capacity and provide more opportunities to Fiji and the Fijians.

In the years ahead, I look forward to continue growing Fiji alongside all of our partners in our Tourism Industry, including your resort, as we keep on our steady journey forward, welcoming investment, driving development, growing our economy and bringing greater opportunity into the lives of every Fijian.

Looking back on the 50-year history of the Shangri-La Fijian Resort and Spa, you all have every reason to celebrate. You have every reason to be proud of the benchmark you’ve set for our Tourism Industry, and I am certainly proud of your legacy.

Since the Shangri-La has taken up ownership of this Resort, you’ve grown from 108 rooms to 442, you are now home to five restaurants, a spa, three pools and your most recent addition – which I’m sure has been a big hit with your younger guests – Fiji’s largest inflatable water park.
All combined, these facilities make your resort the largest single hotel in Fiji, and I’m very glad to be told that you plan to become even larger in the years ahead.

Congratulations on your 50th Anniversary. As you look to the next 50 years, I assure you that my Government will continue to support the development of your resort and your partnership with the Fijian people. I wish you all a wonderful celebration.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

© 2018 Ministry of Communications