SPEECH: HON PM BAINIMARAMA SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF RESORT RELAX FIJI

The Honourable Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism,
Honourable Ministers,
Bobby Khan and the rest of the Khan family,
Distinguished Guests,
My Fellow Fijians,

Bula vinaka and a very good evening to you all,

Back in November 2012 on a sunny afternoon in Votualevu, I had the pleasure to open Bobby Khan’s first major investment in Fiji – his U Save supermarket. And almost three years later, I’m equally delighted to be here to officially open the latest – Resort Relax Fiji.

I’d like to begin by acknowledging Johnny Lever – the Bollywood superstar – who is with us this evening all the way from Mumbai, India and to welcome him to Fiji on behalf of the Government and the Fijian people.

We’re becoming used to seeing Bollywood stars in Fiji as more and more Indian filmmakers discover the benefits of shooting their movies here. It’s not just the magnificent backdrop that Fiji provides but the generous incentives we are offering to encourage more productions in Fiji. To boost our economy and provide employment opportunities for Fijians in the movie industry. But few, if any, of our visiting stars are as famous as Johnny Lever and you are especially welcome as a friend of Bobby Khan’s to be our special guest on this wonderful occasion.

Ladies and gentlemen, this project is yet another vote of confidence in the tourism industry in Fiji – which is enjoying unprecedented growth and record visitor arrivals. But it’s especially important because it is an investment in the industry by a Fijian. Someone with his roots and his heart in Fiji and who has displayed great determination to see his country prosper.

It’s even more special because the investment has come from someone who left the country disillusioned in the wake of the 1987 coup. But who chose to return when he could see that the FijiFirst Government had righted an historical wrong and had put the country on a radically different path. One of equality and opportunity. Everyone with the same stake in their country of birth. Everyone a Fijian.

Taking advantage of my Government’s multiple nationality policy, Bobby and his wife Azreena, decided to return after 22 years in New Zealand and join the growing number of Fijians coming home. To contribute to our economy and build the new Fiji.

In doing so, they’ve created dozens of jobs – 60 staff in this resort alone and another 80 who were engaged in building it. And that’s on top of all the other jobs they’ve created in their other local businesses.

I am informed that Bobby has another project in the pipeline – the Airport Plaza complex of commercial offices and retail stores. We look forward to this development.

With such developments, jobs are created and the earnings of the employees filter back into their communities and strengthen the general economic base for every Fijian.

As you know I have made it a priority to persuade as many Fijians to return home. I made a big effort on my recent visits to Canada and Australia to attract more Fijians to return home to invest, to return home.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Resort Relax Fiji hasn’t just been designed to attract overseas visitors – important as they are to our economy. It also wants to attract as many Fijians as possible to come and stay or enjoy the facilities. There are 17 duplex villas plus two additional presidential suites, conference facilities and other amenities for adults and children.

So I encourage Fijians to support this Fijian business. In the knowledge that every dollar you spend here stays in Fiji and benefits every Fijian.

Thank you to those who built the resort. And thank you to the 60 staff who are already a big part of its success. The best wishes of every Fijian go with you. And I now have the great pleasure to officially declare Resort Relax Fiji open.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.