CYBERSPACE DIRECTORY GENERATES BOOKINGS ACROSS POLYNESIA, MELANESIA

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 16, 2001 -- Pacific Magazine/PINA Nius Online)---Twelve months after the launch of PacificNavigator.com [http://pacificnavigator.com/], this colorful Fiji-operated site is generating bookings for the tourism industry across Polynesia and Melanesia, Pacific Magazine reports.

Calling it one of the most progressive and comprehensive guides to the South Pacific on the Internet, the magazine said PacificNavigator.com introduces 11 countries and their tourist attractions.

It offers direct 24-hour, on-line booking for airlines, hotels, tours and activities. It also has special deals, prizes, a message board for comments, and on-line booking for tourism sellers.

A registered Internet travel business, PacificNavigator.com is a joint venture between Digital Leisure Communications Limited and Rosie Signs, Pacific Magazine said.

Principals include Fiji businessmen Ian Collingwood, of Sun Air, and Tony Whitton, of Rosie the Travel Service, both of whom have a strong belief in the power of Internet business.

"We set out to create a portal Web site describing tourism and travel in the region. There is plenty of material on the Internet about the individual countries in this region, but our perspective was to bring this together in one place," Collingwood said.

"We are very comfortable with our progress to date. The Web site hosts more than 1,000 unique visitors per day. We have seen the profile of our brand increase significantly over the past 12 months and have been able to facilitate a steady flow of bookings and sales in the process."

The site provides complete destination management services for the regions listed, which includes 11 Polynesian and Melanesian countries so far. Easy to use, it has many photos, maps and quick links.

The site offers information on each country, including the people, history, culture, economy, places of interest, restaurants and clubs, sporting facilities, shopping, travel information and hints, island transport, and a newsletter of Pacific travel news.

Booking happens through direct link by clicking on the product or through PacificNavigator itself.

"We offer 24-hour access to the largest range of South Pacific holiday products in the world," Collingwood said. "Visitors to the site can make their own itinerary or use the on-line consultants.

"We have alliances with most of the established hotel, tour and transport brands, but the difference is that we also have intimate knowledge of the lesser-known Pacific travel experience."

The site not only targets the traveling public (and has the spin-off of creating ready-made information for school projects on the countries), but also tour wholesalers. It offers on-line opportunities to the target market through business-to-business links into the site and through advertising.

Tourism sellers, travel agents and advertisers have a range of advertising options, including product listing, sponsorship, banners and prize promotions.

Collingwood said the company uses sophisticated statistics software to track who visits where on the site and what bookings they generate.

It’s a useful marketing tool that gives an indication of what interest there is in the smaller countries away from the main markets of Fiji and New Caledonia.

The site is marketed using a combination of paid placements, search engine listings, newsletter and cross-link marketing.

Collingwood said the F$ 100,000 (US$ 50,000) PacificNavigator.com project is privately funded.

The site was originally designed by Collingwood and Nista Design, which has now moved offshore. Recent upgrading has been assisted by Ivan Pisoni of Ivanet Design in Lautoka.

The company employs three people and supplements that with outsourcing of material and technological advice.

For additional reports from Pacific Magazine, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Magazines/Journals/Pacific Magazine.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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