As Fiji's tourism industry targets $1billion in revenue from tourism by 2007 another niche in the industry has opened up and promises to be the mother load in as far as the industry is concerned.
This niche is sports tourism.
And there is no other way to illustrate this vividly then the hosting by Fiji of the Table Tennis World Junior Circuit (WJC) from next Saturday (June 25) to July 2.
The Fiji Table Tennis Association won the bid to host the tournament and reports say this year's event promises to be the best ever.
What worked in FTTA's favour was that it successfully hosted the 2003 South Pacific Games and 2002 Oceania Table Tennis Championships.
The tournament in the Fiji capital, Suva, will draw participants from China, Japan, Korea, India, Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand,Fiji, Tahiti, Vanuatu, New Caledonia , Kiribati, Cook Islands, Tuvalu and well officials from those countries as well as Spain ,Poland and Sweden.
Major tourist destinations such as the Warwick International, Shangri-Las Outrigger on the Lagoon, Sheraton Fiji, Beachcomber Island Resort and Malolo Island Resort have put together special one-off pre-event and post-event packages for the players, families and friends to enjoy while they are here while a number of the hotels ,motels and apartments in Suva are being booked out for around 10 days with more than 200 players and officials arriving from overseas.
This does not include families and supporters who coming for "a smashing experience", which is the official slogan for the event.
"The spin-off for the economy, especially around Suva, will be substantial," says Anthony Ho of the FTTA.
The organisers have also secured the services of Jarek Kolodziejczyk, a top table tennis coach from Poland, together with world famous professional player, Peter Karlsson of Sweden to conduct a three-day training camp before the tournament starts.
Many teams are reportedly flying in earlier than scheduled to take advantage of this offer.
After the championship, teams have been invited to stay one more day for the "Fun Day at the Beach" programme organised by the Fiji Visitors Bureau.
According to FTTA some participants making use of the post event packages "will linger on Fiji's azure waters and white sandy beaches".
And what are the benefits for Fiji or more importantly Suva, which will host the event.
- generate economic activity for hotels, restaurants, attractions, retail and service businesses;
- indirectly lead to years of follow-on tourism;
- create new revenue streams and resources for local event organisers and sports-friendly businesses;
- promote Suva's tourism development;
- improve media exposure and enhance Suva's image to potential visitors;
- maximise the use...