Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in www.connectme.com.fj/news/opinion. I thank Allen and Connect for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

Tourism Money-Go-Round

It has been reported that tourist arrivals are up. At the end of the fiscal year can we show an increase in revenue, just to balance the equation? But many tourists come on pre-planned pleasure trips. Most things are paid for on the other side. What they spend in Fiji is just a measly sum on handicraft, necklaces a little food and maybe soft drinks.  All the big money is paid and left overseas.

Most tourist ship arrival tours are organized on buses. The tourist goes from boat onto the bus and is whisked straight to an already mega-rich handicraft shop. They see the countryside zooming pass them. The small people are left waving on the roadside with their stalls and handicraft. How about allowing the tourist to roam free and let him decide what he wants to see and buy. I’m sure the tourist wants the natural smile of the Fijian people not the forced smile of salesmen and women who work on commission basis and targets!

How about organizing tours to villages and rural areas, so that the people don’t have to spend money on carriers to motor into town. Hard earned money is spent on taxi and carrier fares. Then after they have sold something they go and have an unhealthy lunch at a fast food restaurant and 50% of the money is gone.

I was in Nadi the other day and made it a point to scrutinize the duty free shops, as they are called. The sales people have it down to a T. I heard one person say “Biula, welcome to Fayjay, would you like to come in and see what we sell? Good prices. Quality goods in here.” He said it with an ‘Austraylian’ accent which sounded like an ‘Austraylian’. And he had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.

I  went into the shop and was given a tour. Wow, some tourist shops have been doing fantastic customer-focused training for their staff. Seemed like skills honed over decades of sales.

But back to the village. Let’s educate the people on customer service presentation and public relations. The people in town already have that.

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