Tuesday, July 1, 2008


THE tourism industry is the perfect place for people to be able to meet and interact with others from all corners of the world.
This is one of the main reasons why people throughout the country are attracted to positions within the industry.
But for a few like Setoki Ceinaturaga, employment in tourism is not just for him to meet people of other cultural backgrounds.
The 30-year-old has a vision of transforming the experience gained during his employment into lasting benefits for the people of his home-island, Naigani, Tailevu.
Ever since the father of two joined the industry nine years ago, he has always worked towards the goal of opening and managing a property on the island owned by the people of Naigani.
Mr Ceinaturaga first joined the industry after securing a position at the exclusive Naigani Island Resort in 1999.
But after working at the resort for seven years, his determination to learn more about the diverse Fijian tourism industry made him leave the island in search of greater knowledge.
Driven by the vision to help his people, Mr Ceinaturaga and his family packed up and travelled across the country where he applied for a position with the five-star luxurious Warwick Resort on the Coral Coast.
Mr Ceinaturaga was offered a position with the resort's activities department that he scooped up with great enthusiasm in July, 2006.
"Working on Naigani was very good but I knew to get a real experience of the different types of people in tourism I had to work for a much larger property."
"In Naigani, the cliental is very exclusive but I knew being employed for Warwick Resort would put me in a position to meet and learn of the cultures of a very wide range of people," he said.
"I was offered a position in the activities department and I was very happy because I would be able to meet and converse with everyone in the resort and learn of what they expect of the local industry," said Mr Ceinaturaga.
"I have enjoyed my time here in Warwick and I feel that I am very privileged to be presented with this opportunity," he said.
Mr Ceinaturaga said even though he enjoys being an employee of an establishment like the Warwick, he always reminds himself of his goal of returning to his island to help his own people.
When The Fiji Times met up with Mr Ceinaturaga at the Bula Fiji Tourism Exchange, he was soaking up the atmosphere and conversing with travel agents from all over the globe.
Dressed as a Fijian warrior, Mr Ceinaturaga said, "I always wanted to see such an event because this opportunity comes around very rarely."
"I have been walking around during the three day event meeting with travel agents and other hoteliers from around Fiji, just learning of the different products that are available and the type of tourism expected of our country," said Mr Ceinaturaga.
"I hope the knowledge I gain from my time with Warwick would be able to help me help my people."
"I have seen about everything in tourism and I hope that in about five years, I would return to the BFTE as a seller to promote the property that I would set up on Naigani for my people," said Mr Ceinaturaga.
Mr Ceinaturaga said tourism was the only industry that the indigenous community back in their various villages could develop to take advantage of the enormous benefits it offers.
He hoped his fellow colleagues in the tourism industry would be able to follow suit and explore their own ventures some day with the hope of helping their people.