Sep 19, 2018 Last Updated 4:57 AM, Sep 13, 2018

By Anish Chand

Tourism Fiji’s global brand agency, Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand says it was not involved in the production of the promotional video that caused an uproar in Fiji over the wrong translation of Fijian words.

In a response to Island Business queries, Head of PR, Social & Business Development for Saatchi & Saatchi, Isobel Kerr-Newell said “Saatchi & Saatchi was not involved with this piece of work.”

She referred further queries to Tourism Fiji and Island Business has sought additional comments from Tourism Fiji in light of this clarification.

Our query includes asking Tourism Fiji to disclose the producer of the video and whether he or she has been been reprimanded over the gaffe.

In a statement released on Wednesday this week, Tourism Fiji Chief Executive Officer Matt Stoeckel has apologised.

“Tourism Fiji takes full responsibility for the error and sincerely regrets any offence this post may have caused our fellow Fijians. We take this situation very seriously and are reviewing our internal processes to ensure this does not happen again.” he said

A fully-funded agency of the Fijian Government, Tourism Fiji operates on an annual grant of between $30 to $40 (US$14.5m - US$19.4m) million. It is headquartered in Nadi, close to Nadi International Airport on the west coast of Fiji’s main island.

By Samisoni Pareti

Fiji’s leader of opposition has expressed outrage at the embarrassing blunder by Tourism Fiji overnight when it posted a video that labels the church as the Fijian meaning of the word ‘toilet.’

“I am outraged and disgusted that an organisation like Tourism Fiji would be so careless as to allow someone within its organisation to release this promotional video,” said a statement from the office of the Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa.

“Obviously no proper vetting or proof reading was done before its release. Is this a deliberate mistake by Tourism Fiji? How can someone translate ‘toilet’ to ‘vale ni lotu’ [church]?”

“The ‘vale ni lotu’ is a sacred location of belief and worship for indigenous Fijians, however this incident undermines and ridicules its sanctity.”

Honourable Ro Teimumu said the blunder could force the opposition to review its support for Tourism Fiji’s annual marketing budget.

“The taxpayers of Fiji give Tourism Fiji F$43.5 million a year in grants for marketing and operating expenses and if this is a sample of what we can expect them to produce using our taxpayers’ dollars, then perhaps we should review their allocation in this year’s budget.”

Since the tourism video blunder went viral on social media, Tourism Fiji took the post down before lunch today and it has issued two apologies already. It blamed the gaffe on a mix-up of graphic designs, and it promises not to repeat such mistakes again.

“Tourism Fiji takes full responsibility for the error and sincerely regrets any offence this post may have caused our fellow Fijians. We take this situation very seriously and are reviewing our internal processes to ensure this does not happen again,” said the statement from Tourism Fiji.

Tourism toilet gaffe

By Samisoni Pareti

Tourism Fiji, the marketing agency of Fiji as a tourist destination has been forced to issue a public apology following an embarrassing langugage blunder on one of its social media postings overnight.

In a video about everyday Fijian terms posted on its Facebook and Instagram pages, Tourism Fiji used the Fijian word for church – valenilotu – as the meaning of the word ‘toilet.’

The mistake went viral on social media overnight before Tourism Fiji pulled the post and upload an apology in its place before lunch time today.

“Sincere apologies everyone,” states the online apology. “Content fact-checking was clearly inaccurate and the post has since been removed. Apologies for any offence this may have caused,” adds Tourism Fiji.

When IB Online followed this up with a request for an explanation from the office of the Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Fiji, Matthew Stoeckel, his office issued this statement to all the media networks.

“Tourism Fiji would like to apologise for an incorrect translation of an iTaukei word which was posted within a video on our social media accounts that was attempting to showcase every-day Fijian words to our international visitors,” says the TF statement.

“The mistake was due to a mismatch of graphic design and failure of our quality assurance process. The post was removed this morning by Tourism Fiji’s social media team shortly after the organisation became aware of the mistake.

“Tourism Fiji takes full responsibility for the error and sincerely regrets any offence this post may have caused our fellow Fijians. We take this situation very seriously and are reviewing our internal processes to ensure this does not happen again.”

A fully-funded agency of the Fijian Government, Tourism Fiji operates on an annual grant of between $30 to $40  (US$14.5m - US$19.4m) million. It is headquartered in Nadi, close to Nadi International Airport on the west coast of Fiji’s main island.

Guide to the 49th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting – Nauru 2018

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