Fiji has won the final of men’s Rugby 7s at the Rio Olympics 2016. It was the first Olympic gold for the small country in Oceania since its inaugural participation in 1956. Previously, athlete Iliesa Delana won the country’s first gold medal in men’s high jump in London 2012 Paralympics.
It’s a big moment, the whole country is celebrating but the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) sees something bigger in it – comprehensive marketing for South Pacific tourism! SPTO’s Chief Executive Officer, Chris Cocker, said that the Olympic gold has brought a pure marketing gold for the tourism of the area. Approximately 3.6 billion viewers across the world watched the match and Mr Cocker considered it a great exposure of not only Fiji but also the entire South Pacific region to a mass number of potential visitors.
In the final game of Rugby 7s, Fiji beat Great Britain by 43-7 and the news became viral in social media within minutes. On that day, the country’s name was the most searched item on Google and the hottest trending topic on Twitter.
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Another South Pacific country, Tonga, also grabbed attention when Tongan athlete Pita Nikolas Taufatofua appeared with an exceptionally oily body and donning a Tongan bark cloth ‘tapa’ while bearing flag during the opening ceremony. He became a social media sensation very quickly and appeared on a number of popular American news and TV shows.
Mr Cocker said that Mr Taufatofua and Fiji’s excellent win drew humongous global interest towards the region. According to him, using these Olympic heroes as the brand ambassadors of tourism industry will help the national tourism to capitalise on the attention they garnered during the big event.
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Mr Cocker also thought that the Olympic fame could be used to promote the upcoming sporting events in the region along with the tourism advertising.
Based in Suva, SPTO works for the development and promotion of 17 Pacific island countries in South Pacific region.