As part of MDF’s support for the growth a new and emerging tourism destinations in Fiji much of the focus has been on building the capacity of local tourism associations to be better organized to drive tourism to their respective areas. Building on from earlier work on the setup of new Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) in Kadavu and Rakiraki, in 2016 MDF established a partnership with the Savusavu Tourism Association (STA).
Tourism has become the main source of income in Savusavu since the decline of the copra industry in Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island, with now up to 1,000 people (25%) of the town population now directly employed in the tourism industry and an estimated 80% of all livelihoods dependent on tourism spending.
The STA has been operating since 2000 and currently has 23 members, including hoteliers, as well as tourism activity and service providers. To date, the STA has had to rely on the goodwill, volunteering and contributions of members to keep the association running. Under the MDF partnership, the STA will review and strengthen its governance structures, operational systems, human resources, destination/digital marketing initiatives and links with national tourism stakeholders.
Since Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston hit Fiji in February 2016, the STA has become a key player in the tourism recovery effort for Savusavu.