Tonga people got excited about the plan to host the TV program 'Survivor' in Vava'u but there was a hitch - not enough accommodation. Hey, survivor surely is about living on the beach not having air-conditioning. Okay, when it was filmed in Macuata lots of people had accommodation. It's an act, it's not really about surviving without mod coms. So they might move to Fiji instead. I like the little note at the bottom of the article about Fiji being well-known for its bottled water. Hmmm.
From the Fiji Times today:
Tonga reels after Survivor withdrawal
Thursday, March 03, 2011
TONGA is reeling at news that a hit US reality show will not film on its shores. Survivor was expected to inject a much-needed $US6 million ($F11.053m) for Tonga when it started filming next month.
According to AAP wire service, there had been much excitement around the television plans, but in a letter to Tonga's prime minister, Lord Tu'ivakano, Survivor co-producer Leisa Francis said they had not been able to secure accommodation and other services needed.
Tonga's newly installed director of tourism, Sakopo Lolohea, said the withdrawal was a "tragedy" for his country.
"This was an incredible opportunity for us, a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase our country and finally put us on the map," Mr Lolohea said.
"This was going to generate cash for us like we've never seen before, but the chance has slipped through our fingers - I am very, very sad."
Survivor had planned to film for several months in Tonga's picturesque north island group, Vava'u.
The government had offered tax incentives and concessions to encourage the producers, and had even set up legislation to meet their special requirements.
However, the makers had difficulty getting cooperation from local operators when it came to booking the 25,000 room nights needed.
"This is not a problem with Survivor, it's a problem with our own people not understanding the huge national benefit of making this happen," Mr Lolohea said.
"It shows us we've got work to do, that's for sure."
He believed producers would shift the show to neighbouring Fiji, already well known in the US thanks to the popular bottled Fiji Water and promotion by stars such as Oprah Winfrey, who has holidayed there.