FIJI: SPORTS TOURISM ON THE RISE

Fiji’s drawcard in attracting travellers is fast becoming sports tourism, as major resorts in the country look towards taking advantage of the opportunities it presents.

Rugby remains one of the major sports attracting visitors to the nation’s shores most especially the 7s code and beach rugby.

With the national side scooping gold during the 2016 edition of the Rio Olympics in Brazil, the country was shot to limelight.

Over a number of years, some of the resorts in the country such as the Pacific Harbour’s Uprising Fiji Resort and the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort in Sigatokahave all been vocal and strong in their financial support of the development of rugby in the country.

Also, these two resorts have gone ahead to develop their own sevens tournament thus annually attracting rugby sports team from within the country and abroad as well.

This Coral Coast Sevens tournament was begun almost seven years ago by Peter Hopgood, the general manager of the Fiji Beach Resorts and Jay Whyte, the Sigatoka River Safari.

So far, it has grown into a multi-national event with teams from countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Hong Kong participating against some of the prolific local teams in the country.

At the event launch held last week where the likes of LoteTuqiri, George Gregan, and New Zealand sevens great Karl Tenana were present as honored guests, Hopgood who spoke, said that the idea behind the founding of the Coral Coast Sevens came when they were seeking an event that could attract and captivate crowds during the off season in the industry.

“Seven years ago the general managers of Coral Coast resorts at the time, got together with Jay Whyte and decided to put a sevens tournament together because it was our quiet time of the year.”

“Let’s put a tournament on where we can attract people to Fiji, but more importantly to the Coral Coast,” he said