Hotelier in Fiji hopes Government steps in to help

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Castaway Island Resort general manager Steven Andrews comforts Ann Pesamino during the start of Cycle for Cancer in aid of Christian Pesamino in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Castaway Island Resort general manager Steven Andrews says he hopes Government will put in place a system where the industry can pull workers from.

He said there was also an urgent need to review pays and benefits that could entice hospitality workers to remain in the country.

The hotel industry has lost up to 10,000 workers to the overseas market, at a time when there has been an upsurge in tourist arrivals.

“As businesses in Fiji and as the industry become successful, they should also pass on that success downwards and that includes pay increase, benefits,” Mr Andrews said.

Local tourism operator Tony Whitton says Fiji’s labour market continued to be marketable overseas.

“We provide close to 700 jobs at Rosie Holidays, Rosie Outsourcing, Likuliku Lagoon Resort and Malolo Island Resort and we have seen a migration across the tourism industry of drivers, housekeepers, electricians, food and beverage, finance and our kitchen brigade.”

In a recent interview, he said the movement of skilled staff to other countries would continue.

“We have fared reasonably well, but I am aware other stakeholders have lost big numbers,” Mr Whitton said.

“You really can’t stop this. COVID has taught us that to survive you have to adapt and change. We are learning that whilst monetary enticement is a factor to leave Fiji, there are other important considerations.

“Our company culture here in Fiji is also important where employees feel safe, cared for and many of our associates still call Fiji home.”

The local hotelier said that they had been getting feedback from staff who were not faring well overseas because of the fast pace of life and high cost of living.

He urged Fijian tourism workers to prepare well if they decided to go overseas.

“So if you do leave, be prepared to count the cost carefully.

“For our brands, there is a big focus on training of new intakes to replace positions we have lost offshore.”

Meanwhile, another 56 Fijian workers under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme were farewelled by Acting Minister for Employment Filimoni Vosarogo at Kshatriya Hall, Suva yesterday.

They were selected to work under the agriculture/horticulture industry, meat industry, and hospitality and accommodation industry.

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