THE Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards board of trustees has widened the criteria for the inaugural awards this year to attract entries from small tourism operators.
Speaking at the launch of the 21st season of the ANZ FETA yesterday, trustee Dixon Seeto said this year they had redone some of the criteria for the awards to give scope for a wider range of applicants to apply.
Mr Seeto said tourism was an important industry and a huge foreign exchange earner for the economy with statistics that showed that it contributed 35 per cent to the gross domestic product or $1.6 billion in foreign exchange.
He said the award categories had been reviewed to include a wider spectrum of tourism operators and allow other players in the industry a chance to participate.
“After the review, the three categories we have modified are the Services and Support Industry, Visitor Dining Experience and the Destination Marketing.
“The Services and Support Industry will now be called the Specialised Tourism Services and Support and the Visitor Dining Experience has been changed to Culinary Services Category to allow entries from restaurants, event caterers, pubs and cafes.
“Destination Marketing has also been reviewed to align with the modern marketing concepts,” Mr Seeto said.
Mr Seeto said the changes in the criteria meant that now small tourism operators that are in the food business but operate away from the glitz and glamour of fine dining would also be able to apply.
Meanwhile out of the 15 awards, 10 are for the business categories and three for individual categories.
The trustees give out the prestigious Visionary and Lifetime Achievement Awards.
ANZ Fiji country head Saud Minam said this was the third consecutive year for the bank to sponsor FETA and it was a great privilege for them.
“These are Fiji’s most prestigious tourism awards and it’s an honour to be associated with the ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards for another season,” Mr Minam said.
ANZ regional executive Pacific Islands Tessa Price said the bank recognised the importance of the tourism industry in Fiji and acknowledged that the success of the industry drove their success.
Ms Price said the bank was always looking for industries that it could support to grow and FETA was one of the avenues through which they were helping the industry grow.
Meanwhile FETA trustee Olivia Mavoa said the awards would be held on February 17 next year and the venue for the event would be decided at a later date.
Applications open next month.