"Survivor" lost hope for Vava'u location

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  1. AmericanGirl
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    AmericanGirl Silver Member

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    I found this interesting and what a shame for Tonga.

    09 Mar 2011, 23:38
    Nuku'alofa, Tonga:

    THE cancellation of the filming in Vava'u of the TV Reality Show, "Survivor" at the end of February because the organisers could not secure hotel accommodation, has sent a shock wave through Tonga's tourist Industry.

    Tourism is one of the few areas that offers hope for Tongans to recover from the current economic difficulties by providing employment, and to bring in much needed foreign currency. Now it will be the tourism industry itself that will have to try and "survive" in 2011.

    Tonga's Director of Tourism, Sakopo Lolohea, described the cancellation as a "tragedy". He said that the project was going to generate cash for Tonga, "like we've never seen before, but the chance has slipped through our fingers!"

    The immediate financial benefits for Tonga, particularly Vava'u, during the time that Survivors 2011 series was scheduled to be filming in Vava'u has been estimated to be about $USD6 million on accommodation, and that's not counting other expenditure in the local community on domestic airlines, land and water transport, the employment of over 150 labourers, and the supply of fuel, food, water, entertainment in bars and restaurants and sightseeing.

    The fact that "Survivors" is screened in more than ten countries to an audience of about 14 million every week, and distributed to 154 countries, the value of the publicity that would have been generated for Tonga by association, is beyond the budget of Tonga's Ministry of Tourism and its wildest dreams.

    Negotiation collapsed
    Tonga's Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Vaipulu said that government had done everything possible to keep Survivor in Vava'u. "Government has delivered Survivor all its requirements and it only got involved in the accommodation negotiation when it was informed in the eleventh hour that negotiation had collapsed between Survivor and the two main hotels in Vava'u."

    It is also understood that government was investigating the possibility of chartering a Cruise Ship to offer accommodation.

    Ran out of time
    Leisa Francis, the co-executive producer of Survivor said that "after joint consideration of various accommodation options we could not find a solid reliable solution and they ran out of time to do so."

    Matangi Tonga Online was not able to make contact with the two Vava'u hotel owners, Chris Racine of the Paradise International Hotel, and Tommy Fa of the Puataukaave International Hotel for comment, although their organizations were informed that we wished to contact them.

    Meanwhile, Sakopo Lolohea said that with regards to the accommodation, the Survivor group needed 25,000 room nights and they were offering to pay $USD80 a night while the Chris and Tommy insisted $USD250 a night.

    Sakopo said that at $USD250 a night a quality service needed to be offered, but of course that is not the case. He said the hotels insisted on the $250 rate, until at the end when the Survivor group indicated that they were pulling out. Then Tommy Fa proposed for government to subsidize the cost of hotel accommodation by paying him $2 million so that he could upgrade some of his rooms.

    But it was all too late and the Survivor filming has dropped Vava'u and will move to another location, possibly Fiji.
     
  2. Tiki
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    Tiki Silver Member

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    I bet the locals who could have benefited from the jobs are going to be upset with those hotel owners!
     
  3. AmericanGirl
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    AmericanGirl Silver Member

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    Yes I can only imagine. Interesting that one of the hotel owners wanted the tourism board to make up the difference.
     

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