Where was the last place you travelled - and where would you like to go next?
I was in LA and San Francisco for business in March just as the COVID-19 situation was hitting pandemic status. I love both cities and always enjoy exploring new places when I visit.
I can’t wait to get back to my second home of Fiji. I can’t remember the last time I spent this much time away. Fiji is good for the soul and I need my fix.
Besides your passport, what’s one thing you never travel without?
Like most people I can’t be without my phone and laptop. I need to be able to stalk my three teenage boys on social media!
I always love a good book. I have a long-standing tradition of purchasing a new book at the airport when I have a long-haul trip. I let the book choose me.
And I confess – I pack a blankey. I hate being cold on a plane.
Why did you take up this particular role?
I have worked in Fiji in various capacities for 17 years.
Fiji is a not just a passion of mine, it is a big part of myself and my family. Regardless of what role I am in, I will always seek out an opportunity to support tourism in Fiji and share this with people from all over the world.
These are particularly challenging times and I have seen so many of my colleagues affected by the changes in the travel industry. I am privileged to be in a position where I can be a part of the recovery.
I am also very proud of the properties I represent and the company I work for. So it was a no brainer.
Tell us something people might not know about Raffe Hotels?
Raffe Hotels and Resorts is a family-owned property group with over 50 years of history in hotels in Fiji. The Group is extremely dedicated to leading the industry in Fiji to positively contribute to the country, people and culture, and invest in the country’s and industry’s future.
The Group was one of the first properties to ban single use plastic bags and plastic straws, as well as introduce a plastic bottle recycling program across all its properties.
It is also the only resort group in the Pacific to be a part of the Oceanic Standard program.
Each resort is involved with a community group such as Animals Fiji and Rise Beyond the Reef.
Tell us one thing that’s coming up that’s got you excited.
We are currently in the process of renovating Lomani Island Resort. This project is due for completion on 31 October, and the resort will have a new arrivals area with alfresco bar, boutique, reception and renovated pool. Lomani has a spectacular location and a true serenity about it.
Moving in to the future, Lomani is focused on providing unique experiences for guests that centre around authentic connectivity. I think that’s something we will all be needing once we get through these current challenges.
What’s one travel experience that really stands out for you?
Sorry, I have two ... very different experiences. The first one was Mardi Gras in New Orleans. What a vibrant city - so much history soaked into the architecture and culture. I met so many wonderful people, not to mention that I am completely obsessed with Bloody Marys and this is the capital of Bloody Marys!
The second was a business trip to Japan, facilitated by the wonderful team at Tourism Fiji. We were able to experience the relentless energy of Tokyo and the traditional history of Kyoto. Much like Fiji, Japan has a living culture and they are a humble and hospitable people, so it was a privilege to experience their traditions. I can’t wait to take my boys there one day.
What’s your top travel tip?
Especially on a long haul trip - comfortable shoes. I like to pre purchase the local currency so I can tip or pay cash where needed too.
I am also an advocate for saying hi to the stranger next to you on a plane. I believe things happen for a reason and they just might surprise you. Travel is as much about connecting with people as it is places.
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