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Monster cyclone blows Fiji Tourism Expo out window

April 10, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

‘FTE 2018 CANCELLED’ was the stark headline on the Fiji Convention Bureau website this morning as Tropical Cyclone Keni bore down on the Fijian islands, forcing the cancellation at short notice of the Fijian Tourism Expo (FTE) 2018 and all activities related to it.

The cyclone’s maximum impact is forecast for today, when FTE 2018 had been scheduled to open at the Sheraton Fiji Resort & Spa on Denarau Island, Nadi, continuing until Thursday.

The official notice read: “Tourism Fiji regrets to announce that due to events beyond our control, the Fijian Tourism Expo (FTE) 2018 and all activities related to the official program are cancelled.

“This difficult decision has been taken because of safety concerns for all delegates due to the deteriorating and serious weather conditions.  At 3.22 am this morning Fiji Meteorology Service issued a Tropical Cyclone Alert for Fiji. For more information visit http://www.met.gov.fj

“Tourism Fiji shares the disappointment of all our partners and participants that were looking forward to FTE 2018 and has taken this decision following consultation with our partners and suppliers, who also understand that safety is the paramount concern for Tourism Fiji. Tourism Fiji will provide full refunds of the registration fees for FTE 2018. For any questions please contact our Events Manager Luisa Finiasi – lfiniasi@tourismfiji.com.fj”

Tropical Cyclone Keni moves in

Hosted by Tourism Fiji, FTE is usually a great platform for operators and companies to showcase their products, engage directly with international buyers and travel trade media and promote the beautiful island destination.

About 100 exhibitors had been expected to attend this year, along with global buyers and media. They anticipated meeting a mix of tour operators, airline companies, local services and accommodation providers over two busy days of appointments. The 2018 event had planned build on last year to showcase the great diversity and quality of products available in Fiji.

Tropical Cyclone Keni is the second cyclone to belt Fiji in a little over a week. At the start of this month, Cyclone Josie killed six people and caused extensive damage. Continued rain and flooding over the weekend left two more people dead and one missing.

Just as people were clearing up, Cyclone Keni moved in. All schools in Fiji are now closed for the next two days, in case they are needed as evacuation centres.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued an advisory yesterday afternoon and Fiji tourism operators are issuing their own. “The Fiji Meteorological Service has issued a Tropical Cyclone (TC) alert for TC Keni covering the Yasawa and Mamanuca Group, Viti Levu (main Island), Kadavu and nearby smaller islands, Lomaiviti and Southern Lau Group,” DFAT said.

How Tourism Fiji broke the news

“Heavy rainfall and widespread local flash flooding is expected. A strong wind warning is in force for all land areas and waters of Fiji. Monitor local media, including radio broadcasts and follow the instructions of local authorities. Contact your airline or tour operator directly for up-to-date information. The level of our advice has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in Fiji.”

Captain Cook Cruises Fiji advised it had cancelled all Tivua Island Day, Lazy Lunch and Sunset Dinner cruises for yesterday and today – 9 and 10 April 2018.

“We are offering a full refund or cancellation fee-free amendments for all passengers booked for these two dates and, if further cancellations are required, will also offer the same conditions.”

Captain Cook advised that Reef Endeavour “is currently in safe anchorage off the south coast of Vanua Levu on an extended Colonial Discovery itinerary. All passengers and crew are safe aboard and it is likely her return to Port Denarau will be delayed until Wednesday 11 April or, possibly, the morning of 12 April.

“All passengers due to board on 10 April are being offered a full refund or fee-free amendments to a future cruise date. The Northern Yasawa cruise, due to depart on 10 April, is rescheduled to 12 April on a revised, shortened itinerary.

“Fiji office is likely to be closed from midday today but our Sydney office is fully operational should you require further information. Our thoughts are with the residents of the Western division who are likely to experience more flooding in the coming days.”

Blue Lagoon Cruises Fiji advised: “Due to adverse weather conditions with Tropical Cyclone Keni, please see our amendment and cancellation policy below. All guests on the below departures have been contacted by Blue Lagoon Cruises and given documentation as follows;

Friday 06 April 2018

3 night “Explorer” cruise

7 night “Escape to Paradise” cruise

Full refund with instructions to contact their travel agent in due course.

Monday 09 April 2018

4 night “Wanderer” cruise

Defer travel until 31 March 2019 without penalty or

Full refund with instructions to contact their travel agent in due course.

MEANWHILE: As of this morning (Tuesday 10 April 2018) Fiji’s Nadi RSMC Tropical Cyclone Centre advises:

  • A Tropical Cyclone Warning remains in force for Viti Levu, Yasawa and Mamanuca group, Beqa, Vatulele, Totoya, Matuku, Lomaiviti and Southern Lau group, Ladavu and nearby smaller islands [Matanuku, Ono and Galoa].
  • A Hurricane Warning remains in force for Vatulele, Kadavu and nearby smaller islands [Matanuku, Ono and Galoa].
  • A Storm Warning remains in force for southwest Viti Levu, from Lautoka through Sigatoka to Navua, Mamanuca group and Beqa.
  • A Gale Warning remains in force for the rest of Viti Levu, Yasawa group, Lomaiviti group, Moala, Totoya, Matuku and southern Lau group.
  • A Strong Wind Warning remains in force for the rest of Fiji and a Heavy Rain Warning remains in force for the whole of Fiji, with a Flood Warning in force for parts of Fiji.

 

Written by Peter Needham

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