The Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards (FETA) gala dinner which was scheduled to be held this Saturday at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa has been called off.

This
follows an emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees where it was unanimously decided
to cancel the event in empathy for the tourism industry and the challenges that
are emerging.

“We
have had to make a very tough decision to cancel the 23rd Fiji
Excellence in Tourism Awards gala dinner in support of our tourism stakeholders
and their employees who are beginning to face very challenging times due to the
disruption to travel demand that the COVID-19 virus is having globally,” FETA
Chair of the Board of Trustees, Bill Whiting said.

“We
could not go ahead with the gala dinner and party whilst our colleagues and
friends in the tourism industry are beginning to face really tough times”.

The
decision was made after consultation with tourism stakeholders who indicated
that the forward bookings are of great concern with a significant decline in
demand for the normal peak season months. 
As a result many businesses are beginning to cut back on staff hours,
staff are taking leave without pay and there is increasingly general belt
tightening.  An indication of the serious
drop in demand from a major source market is the decision by Air New Zealand to
significantly reduce capacity to Fiji from late March.  Whiting said.

“We
are in uncharted territory and it is impossible to predict how long and severe
the downturn will be”. 

“The
World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has revised its 2020 international tourist
arrivals and is estimating a loss of US$30 to US$50 billion in international
tourism receipts.”

“All
the 2019 winners of the 13 categories together with the prestigious Lifetime
Achievement and Visionary Award winners will be recognised and presented with
their trophies in a smaller event that we will host at a date to be decided,”
Whiting added.

“The
Trustees and the Organising Committee of the Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards
would like to thank all our sponsors and partners who have accepted the
decision and in this are also showing their support to the Fiji tourism
industry.

For
those who have bought tickets please be assured that FETA will be giving a full
refund. All refunds are expected to be processed within a week.”

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