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Fiji Tourism mistakes 'toilet' for 'church' in ad

Gaffe found in quickly deleted promo video

In a deeply religious country, it isn’t the sort of mistake you’d want to make – even if to others, it would seem like light-hearted - albeit accidental - "toilet" humour.


Tourism Fiji has apologized for an error in a promotional video that saw it wrongly translate the word "church" for "toilet" in Fiji’s most widely spoken language, iTaukei.


Image ABC / Supplied


In the ad, which appeared on the tourism body’s Facebook and Instagram pages before being deleted shortly thereafter, the words "Vale ni Lotu" were translated as "toilet" instead of its real meaning “a place of worship” or “church”.


“We would like to apologise for an incorrect translation of an iTaukei word which was posted within a video earlier. We sincerely regret any offence this post may have caused our fellow Fijians,” a tweet on Tourism Fiji’s official Twitter page read, in apologizing for the incident.


In another tweet, the NTO stated that “content fact-checking was clearly inaccurate and the post has been removed”.


According to The Fiji Times, the update had offended many iTaukei, with some calling for action against those responsible for the gaffe.


Among those was the country’s opposition leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa, who said the organisation had been careless to release the promotional video.


Tourism Fiji CEO Matt Stoeckel told ABC’s Pacific Beat responsibility for the oversight lay in a miscommunication with its outsourced, Australian social media contractor.  


"As a tourism body, we certainly don't go by the mandate that any publicity is good publicity," he said.


"This is publicity that essentially, may have offended Fijians and for that reason we are deeply sorry for any disrespect it's caused and it was not by any means intentioned to get publicity."


We still love you Fiji...


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 26 April 2018

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