A group of Australian Parliamentarians were greeted with a warm traditional Fijian ‘sigidrigi’ or ‘welcoming song’, in late July at Tifajek Mud Pool and Hot Springs – a small family owned business in Sabeto, Nadi. The delegation was led by Senator Ian Macdonald (Senator for Queensland) and comprised of Senator Janet Rice (Senator for Victoria), MP Laurie Ferguson (Member for Werriwa) and MP Jane Prentice (Member for Ryan).
The Australian’s learned how this community-led business venture has developed into a successful tourism operation. The Tifajek Mud Pool and Hot Springs offers a unique experience for tourists in breathtaking surroundings and its therapeutic mud bath treatments in natural hot pools are a taste of what Fiji has to offer outside Denarau.
Tifajek Mud Pool and Hot Springs Managing Director Miliana Racule shared her experiences with the visitors and said community-based tourism ventures have always been a challenge, given the cultural complexities of doing business in a village setting and the lack of managerial experience or business support available for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Senator Macdonald congratulated Miliana for the progress they have made over the years and was delighted to hear how tourism dollars are going to the hardworking Fijian women and men employed at Tifajek.
MDF partnered with Tifajek in March 2015 and is co-investing to upgrade its existing mud baths and strengthen its management capacity to capitalise on the increased tourism traffic particularly from the cruise ships. MDF’s partnership with Tifajek Mud Pool and Hot Springs will support the business to achieve the next level of growth and generate increased income and livelihood opportunities for the women and men of Sabeto Village and its surrounding communities.