This is part of an ongoing partnership forged between the University of the South Pacific’s Tourism, Hospitality and Management programme that will see graduate students attached with the Ministry.
Tourism Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum reminded the students to treat this not as an assignment, but as part of nation building.
These tourism management students will help our Tourism Ministry with research aimed at better understanding some of the trends within the industry.
Moving away from the traditional concept of tourists just visiting our shores – their research will help identify issues such as value added services and specific tourist activity preferences.
“I think this working relationship is very essential working with the industry. Certainly from our schools point of view it is one of our core mission statements,” said USP Head of Tourism School, Professor Marcus Stephenson.
The Tourism Minister told the students they will play a critical role in helping identify specific tourist needs.
“You’ll be able to tell us what they are happy about and whay they are not happy about as well as what they will want. And so you will be a very important conduit in that relationship that we want to build with them,” said Minister for Tourism, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
The Tourism minister also links their work to an age old challenge – job retention.
“There is no doubt Fiji has had a brain drain issue. Fiji has had an issue where we had good people leaving our shores going overseas and migrating overseas. But for us to be able to reform our economy and get the maximum from our various industries.”
Sayed-Khaiyum also urged students that what they will soon embark on is more than just another assignment, but their contribution to a stronger tourism sector.
“So you can be rest assured to those of you who are students thay we are here to help you and we are here to progress with you. And we want to hold your hands and work with your school so that when yoy do graduate and ready for fulltime employment, there should be something ready and waiting for you.”
It’s an assurance that will no doubt motivate these tourism students.