After Six Years, $24 Million Investment, Closed Fiji Resort Set To Reopen

Australian owner of Vatulele Island Resort hopes to create more than 400 jobs

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 4, 2017) – Six years after the Vatulele Island Resort closed, there is hope of it reopening and with it 400 new jobs.

Its Australian millionaire owner, Albert Bertini, 55, claims to have invested $50 million [US$24 million] into the property, with major announcements expected to be made in the coming months.

In an interview on the island on Tuesday, Mr Bertini, who first came to Fiji in 2011 with his wife, said the investment would create job opportunities for almost 400 people living on the island.

"The development is going to be huge and I would say it would easily employ up to 400 people from the different villages here," Mr Bertini said.

Outlining his plans, the millionaire said the resort, once completed, would feature 65 lots added to the major accommodation facility with three to four different compartments offering one of the best getaway experiences for couples, families or those who just want to spend their private time on the island.

"The vision is to make this place the best and unique place in the world.

"This resort development will put Fiji on the world map in a different scale."

Mr Bertini said he chose to invest in the property because of the "spirit of Vatulele, its mystery and beauty".

He said there was something different about the island.

"The first time I landed on the island with my wife, I thought I was in Greece. I still think I am in Greece.

"I was the first foreigner to get married here on the island and ever since, I have just fallen in love with this place."

Mr Bertini said he preferred the resort to be like his universe, where everybody who lived was a star.

He said having travelled all over the world, the essence of any product was its people.

"And the people of Fiji and how friendly they are makes this place the best."

Ana Veremalua, who worked with the resort for 12 years before it went into receivership, said Mr Bertini's plans had brought back life for the 1000 villagers on the island.

"We are so happy as it will help the village people and also help parents send their children to school," the 38-year-old said.

Mrs Veremalua said the opening of the resort would start bringing tourists to the island once again.

Fiji Times Online.
Copyright © 2017 Fiji Times Online. All Rights Reserved

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Comments

I sincerely hope this is true as we have visited Vatulele on four occaisions and it was amazing. It was adults only and very private and the position and operation was worth every dollar spent to be there.. It sounds like this dream is changing to a more congested operation which is not what we go to Fiji for. A big disappointment for us as we dreamed of returning to the place and the people we got to know very well Happy for the village people but we might still venture to LikuLiku

You should come an see us in Taveuni, the North is where the authentic Fijian experience still exist. Just look up Raiwasa Private Resort, you will not be disappointed. Come an see us you will not be disappointed.

Mr Bertini was not the first foreigner to be married there many have in the resort and on Nookie Nookie island. It has be a long time coming and I hope he removed the boat he beached on the beach as well. If it is true it will be wonderful for the people of the island.

Anneke and I were married at Vatulele on March 11 1998...just about 20 years ago...we were not the first...but we were the first to wear the traditional tapa cloth wedding costumes and our party was a full Fijian celebration as the locals do it. It was AMAZING!

J'm really sorryMr. Oswald, but i wantto tell you that my wife and i got married in Vatulele on the 4th of June 1993 in trational tapa cloth. Also our wedding party was a full Fijian celebration as the localdo it, with prior, choir, Dance and for Dinner we have had Lovo, it was also AMAZING for us.

We honeymooned on Vatulele Dec 2004. The people are special, as was everything about the Resort. Such a pity the villagers have not had work there for so many years. Bring it back to life, as it was before. Don't over develop. Couples were being married there prior to 2004. The Choir was beautiful.

We honeymooned on Vatulele in Spring, 2000. We had an amazing time because of the staff and felt the "Fiji gift" because of the limited guests and limited development at that time. As development is rampant everywhere - keep it to the urban areas in your own countries please. Keep this resort alive but leave Long Beach pristine and the rest of the island. This resort could continue to do very well with the right ownership in the footprint they have.

I spent a week on Vatulele in 1997 and have been wanting to go back soon. The reason I chose this islad in 97 was that there were no paved roads, stores, street lights, noise, and congestion. The culture of the island is the reason I went there. I must say it was the best week of my life. I remember everyday I was there. The beauty, the people, and the food was second to none not to mention the diving. Keep the experience of the natives and keep their beautiful home clean and natural.

This place is so special to me because my husband and I spent our honeymoon here and fell in love with it. I have always wanted to return one day when we were able to. I cannot wait to see the new improvements. The people were so sweet and always knew what I wanted before I asked. So glad it is being brought back to life!

As a travel agent, and when Vatulele resort was still a dream, I used to spend time talking with Henry Crawford about the kind of resort my clients would be interested in: I had travelled extensively, like Mr Bertini, and was always interested in what my clients expected for their money. After the opening, we visited there many times and reaffirmed our wedding vows in 1992. The resort was wonderful in many ways and I was sad to see it close. I’m hoping that the ”new ‘ Vatulele will look after the Islanders properly. It must have been ver tough for them since it closed.

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