South Pacific tourism market is ‘heating up’

9:57 AM Saturday November 22, 2014 Colin Taylor

Outrigger on the Lagoon Resort which was recently sold in Fiji.

Colliers International has released its inaugural South Pacific Island Hotel and Tourism Report covering key South Pacific countries including Fiji, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa and New Caledonia.

“The South Pacific tourism market is heating up after a long period in the shade,” says Dean Humphries, national director of Colliers International Hotels.

He says the renewed optimism is a result of the easing global financial crisis and a number of geopolitical events that have occurred including the recent Fijian elections returning a democratically elected government after eight years of military rule.

“With regional and global economies improving, we are seeing encouraging signs of increased tourism activity, culminating in improving revenue and property values,” says Humphries.

“As with recent trends in New Zealand, Fiji is reporting record occupancy and room rates while other markets like PNG, Samoa and Rarotonga are also displaying strong trading conditions.”

“In the past 12 months the South Pacific region’s key performance metrics and transactional inquiry levels have risen as global markets recover and discretionary spending on leisure tourism increases.” 

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Sonaisali Island Resort, Fiji.

Humphries says new development is also featuring in Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia and PNG and renewed investment activity has been noted. 

“This is a result of a several large transactions in the last year, and more significant assets being offered to the market as investors take advantage of countercyclical buying opportunities.”

Colliers International’s hotel division has produced a Visitor-Supply Ranking Indices based on inbound visitor arrivals the supply of hotel rooms and resorts. 

“This is a very effective barometer for investors wanting to identify key markets in the region where activity is most likely to occur over the short to medium term,” Humphries says.

The ranking has Fiji at number one, Tahiti second, and PNG third, with other markets like Samoa and Cook Islands showing signs of improvement.

A first ‘South Pacific hotel investment cycle clock’, produced in conjunction with a number of regional industry experts, also forms part of the report,

“This identifies where each market is in terms of its current revenue performance,” says Humphries. “While many countries are towards the bottom of the hotel investment cycle, there are encouraging signals that most of these will enter a growth phase over the short term.”

The report includes the recent sales of large resorts in Fiji such as the Sonaisali Island, Castaway Island and Outrigger on the Lagoon.

New resort developments include the resurrection of the Momi Bay development in Fiji following its collapse in 2007. Marriot International plans to open a five star, 250 room resort there in 2016. Other notable projects are the refurbishment and rebranding of the Aggie Greys Hotel and Bungalows in central Apia, Samoa; and the rebranding of Aggie Greys Lagoon Beach Resort and Spa which is opening under the Sheraton brand in 2015. 

True Commercial - Dean Humphries, Colliers.jpg

Dean Humphries of Colliers International.