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SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 10, 1998 - Radio Australia)---A joint planning and marketing body set up to exploit turn-of-the-millennium celebrations as a global promotion for Pacific Island nations has collapsed.

The Tourism Council of the South Pacific, which represents tourist offices for 13 Pacific Island nations, says it has withdrawn from the consortium formed in 1996.

Known as the South Pacific Millennium Consortium, the grouping was established to coordinate millennium events so as to avoid clashes and rivalries likely to undermine promotional hopes.

However, the Tourism Council of the South Pacific says rivalry for an anticipated flood of visitors to countries located near the International Date Line completely undermined the consortium.

Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati and Samoa are among Pacific nations which are trying to capitalize on their location to claim they are among the first places in the world to greet the year 2000.


SYDNEY, Australia (November 10, 1998 - AFP)---The exclusive island resort of Vatulele in Fiji, one of the first countries to greet the year 2000, is offering what it calls the ultimate millennium holiday package -- for 500,000 U.S. dollars.

Co-owner Henry Crawford, a former Australian television producer, said Monday the resort was negotiating with four interested parties, including a royal family in the Middle East, two American inquirers and another in Brazil.

For the price you get the resort to yourself and up to 35 friends, Crawford said.

The 14-day package includes meals, alcoholic drinks, resort activities and transfers from Nadi International Airport.

"Wow -- what a way to make that HUGE impression on your friends and business associates," the advertising material says.

Vatulele is a forested island 32 kilometers (20 miles) off Fiji's Coral Coast.

Michael J Field Agence France-Presse Auckland, New Zealand TEL: (64 21) 688-438 FAX: (64 21) 694-035 E-Mail: WWW:

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