Premium Aussie food and beverages are packing a punch in the Pacific, starring at a Fijian trade event.
Ten Australian exhibitors joined ‘Team Australia’ at HOTEC 2022 from 27–28 October. They made up a vibrant Australia Pavilion that brimmed with activity and showcased world-class meat, seafood, dairy, wine and spirits.
HOTEC is well known as the Pacific region’s premier tourism and hospitality trade event. This was the first event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It drew business representatives keen to discover top offerings for luxury hotels, restaurants and resorts.
Thanks to Austrade’s support of Australian companies at HOTEC, a number of deals are in the pipeline.
Trade Commissioner, Pacific Sheila Lunter says HOTEC gave Australian companies valuable opportunities to scope the local market. It also allowed them to build relationships with importers and distributors.
In addition to business discussions and sampling on the trade show floor, offerings from each Australian exhibitor were spotlighted. Products were on the menu at an awards night dinner, and even at a cocktail judging competition and masterclass.
‘We were absolutely delighted to bring a taste of Australia to HOTEC for the first time. It was the ideal opportunity to say ‘bula’ – or warm hello – from our exporters to Fijian customers,’ she says.
‘Our on-the-ground team worked shoulder to shoulder and linked Australian companies with potential customers. This will pave the way for business deals in the future.’
Australia is Fiji’s largest tourism market, accounting for nearly 50% of total visitor arrivals.
For local hospitality and tourism operators, featuring clean, safe and natural products on their menus is extremely important. It is also a main factor in why many are interested in sourcing from Australia.
‘From the Australian business perspective, there’s great enthusiasm about the Fiji market and its possibilities,’ Lunter says.
‘Most of those at HOTEC were new to market. Several said they always thought Fiji had everything. They didn’t realise before they came here that there are gaps they could fill. They are excited about the opportunities.
‘Fiji is challenging to import to. However, it can present a reliable and regular market for exporters with the right product who find the right channel into the market.
‘For these companies, being part of Australia’s HOTEC presence allowed them to meet business contacts. They returned home with a much greater understanding of this market. They were thrilled with the reception their products received and for Austrade’s support to bring leads to them.
‘Plus, in a post-pandemic climate, it was terrific to see in-person engagement and networking back in action. The smiles on people’s faces showed it was a real joy.’