New Zealand travel agent Kristal Jenkins is the lucky winner of an exclusive eight-night dive holiday on Fiji’s Suncoast, one of the best known regions for spectacular coral reef diving in the South Pacific.
Jenkins was one of 62 new travel agents from around the world who registered for theSouth Pacific Specialist Programme, an on-line training module that teaches travel agents how to sell South Pacific holidays, in September.
Agents who complete the training go into the draw to win an exclusive familiarisation holiday to a South Pacific destination several times a year.
A marketing initiative of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), the latest dive holiday incentive to Fiji was targeted specifically at travel specialists who sell dive packages or those with dive certifications themselves.
During the month-long competition period, there was a tremendous amount of interest in the South Pacific Specialist training programme by travel agents globally. Of the 62 new travel agents who registered, 24 went on to become fully certified South Pacific Specialists.
Diving in the Pacific islands region is one of five niche areas covered in the training, which helps travel agents develop and enhance their knowledge on the unique tourism products and services that are available throughout the tropical South Pacific.
A certified diver, Jenkins is a Cruise Specialist and International Travel Consultant for Cruiseabout New Plymouth. She has been working in the tourism industry for two years since completing a hotel management and tourism degree.
“The South Pacific Specialist training has had a huge impact on my knowledge and sales of the South Pacific. I feel even more confident now selling the destinations to my clients without even visiting the area,” she said.
However, she is excited to see first-hand what the region has to offer. “One of my favourite things to do while travelling is scuba diving and horse riding so Fiji and Vanuatu are at top of the list,” she said.
Prior to undertaking the online training, Jenkins attended the South Pacific Association of National Tourism Offices (SPANTO) Roadshow in New Plymouth, New Zealand in August to learn more about region and what it is has to offer.
Her prize includes four nights’ accommodation at Wananavu Beach Resort and four nights at Volivoli Beach Resort with full buffet breakfast and underwater expeditions, as well as meet and greet upon arrival in Fiji and transfers to by Tours Managers Fiji.
The eight-night Fiji dive package is offered in partnership with Tourism Suncoast, the regional destination organization for the Suncoast region, focused on promoting travel in the northwest of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu.
“Fiji is known as the soft coral capital of the world. It offers a range of diving experiences across the country and the Suncoast region is known for its pristine and un-crowded environment. It is well suited for tourists and travellers of all types who are looking for a special kind of diving and holiday experience not offered elsewhere in Fiji,” said SPTO Chief Executive Chris Cocker.
The Suncoast region features the Bligh Waters, or more recently the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape, one of the country’s precious underwater jewels, known after the small volcanic island Vatu-i-Ra, a national park and bird sanctuary with beautiful white sand beaches.
The online South Pacific Specialist programme is aimed at helping travel agents increase their confidence and ability to sell the South Pacific with passion and loyalty.
At present, there are 468 certified South Pacific Specialist agents across 49 countries globally, mainly from Australia, Canada, China, Europe, India, United Kingdom and United States.
Based in Suva, SPTO works with its member governments to market and develop tourism in South Pacific region.