Tourism education & industry in the South Pacific


The South Pacific is considered to be one of the hubs of the tourism industry, and is known as a place where tourism education blends with the needs of the industry for the benefit of all involved.  

A perfect example of this collaboration is the annual Bilibili Race held in Sigatoka, Fiji, which has now been running for 28 years.  This hotel industry event is set on the idyllic Coral Coast and this social sports day enables tourism workers from over a dozen major hotel/ resort properties, and tourism operators from Viti Levu (the largest island in the Republic of Fiji), to enjoy the benefits of building confidence and individual skills in a team environment.

Participating in both river and land events provides a day of enjoyment while fostering an ongoing professional networking relationship between educators and industry alike, and where studies can be balanced with team building and individual responsibility to training.

Another event, that has now been running for seven years, is the annual Careers Fair – an event which is well-attended by 16 leading tourism and hospitality organisations from around Fiji, as well as by Carnival Australia whose cruise ships travel the South Pacific islands, including Fiji.

Students attending the Careers Fair have an opportunity to interview, and be interviewed by, the prospective employers – most of whom offer graduate trainee programmes.  Broadening their employment prospects, another major benefit for students is the networking available with key industry stakeholders - while employers also use the day as a recruitment opportunity in their search for interns and other dedicated future staff members.

With such high level employers attending and hosting this event (hosted in 2013 by the InterContinental Hotel Group at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, Natadola) tourism education in the South Pacific is clearly very closely aligned to the needs of the tourism sector.  

With such mutually beneficial strategies and outcomes for educators and industry, it is easy to see why the South Pacific is seen as an ideal place to both study and work in tourism and hospitality. 

Authored by: Professor David Harrison, Mr Hupfeld Hoerder and Ms Lorissa Hazelman, The University of the South Pacific