Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What is there for tourists in Labasa?

from w
We've been discussing what the Labasa area can offer to tourists, especially the day-trippers from visiting ships and we are trying to assess what would be good programs/locations for just a few hours - besides shopping in the town. There's Wasavulu stones and its cultural history (though now there are houses there and I think stones have been moved about), the Hindu snake temple at Matailabasa with the stories of the growing stone, there's the hot water sites, a picnic on Vorovoro Island, there are working sugar-cane farms, and so on. It has been suggested that a visit to Naduri as a cultural tour - the remains of the old chiefly bure - but Naduri is a bit far away. Certainly the men from Seaqaqa can dance though! The floating island at Nubu is rather far away. Anyway, the Labasa Tourism committee are working on it all. Once upon a time we had a little eco-tourism place at Nukutatava but that was a long time ago. There are Labasa stories on the internet which give a few clues about what is interesting in the Labasa region such as this one - during 2011. and I think connecting with people is the most important thing for tourists - meet up with a real family or go to a primary school and interact with the children.

from Fiji Sun (they have journos in Labasa often with stories - which is better than the spin and handouts that pepper that particular paper.

Labasa Tourism Association focuses on 2012, cruise boats
December 29, 2011 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

The Labasa Tourism Association has vouched to focus on pushing for infrastructure improvement for the year 2012 in order to attract more cruise liners to Macuata.
The association believes that Government’s plan to build an international port of entry near Tabia called the Middle Point, which is about 20 minutes drive from Labasa Town would be the major development opening doors for more cruise liners.

Labasa Tourism Association president Paul Jaduram said meanwhile Reef Endeavour, a vessel of Captain Cook Cruises, this year anchored at Malau. “Through this vessel’s four trips to Labasa there was a record of more than 310 tourist arrivals,” Mr Jaduram said. He said during their visits the association found out that there was a need to bring improvement in infrastructure and development of site scene in Macuata.
“During our recent meeting we discussed nine major infrastructure and services that affected our tourism industry in North,” Mr Jaduram said.

1. Very high air fare from Labasa to Suva, Labasa to Nadi and return
2. Lack of international port of entry
3. Construction of bypass road
4. Tarsealing of the road from Dreketi to Nabouwalu
5. Historical sites to be developed with their histories
6. Improvements of side roads in and around Labasa Town
7. Seating facilities around Labasa Town
8. Dredging of the river mouth up to Labasa
9. Upgrading of 'Waiqele Airport terminal building and introducing night landing facilities

He said once these infrastructure falls into place tourists would feel comfortable and would more often choose Labasa as tourist destination. “We have been having continuous discussion with the Commissioner Northern Lieutenant-Colonel Ilai Moceica on developing some site scenes such at the Three Sisters Mountain,” Mr Jaduram said.
He said the association hopes to build an eat-out place for tourists close to the mountain. We have also thought of suggesting tourists to visit Tui Macuata’s chiefly village Naduri where there is still a major historical site scene associated with stories for interest,” Mr Jaduram said.

He said he was also working with the general manager of Fiji Sugar Corporation’s, Labasa Mill Karia Christopher to provide passenger component for tourists to sit in groups and move around Labasa for site scene. “We are very much committed in bringing more tourists to Macuata in particular Labasa to lift the tourism industry,” Mr Jaduram said. He said the association was expecting more than eight tourist vessels and cruise liners to berth in Macuata next year.
Now, put yourself in the shoes of a visitor to Labasa with a few hours only. Some things they would expect - a place to have good food at reasonable cost, a clean toilet, some culture, some photo opportunities, not get too far away and miss the boat! That means drinks and snacks available at each location visited and a good toilet! So I hope the committee are not just thinking about opportunities to make money - some things are free - smiles, relationships even if just beginning, good will.

1 comment:

Pandabonium said...

You summarize it very well. Rather than focus on money, create a place and life that can be shared with others so that visitors can leave with appreciation and a fresh vision of what life should be. In so doing, the lives of local people will also be enriched in ways more important than the financial ones.