Luxury Resort in Fiji Facing Problems

The Natadola Resort and Timeshare promises to be spectacular—but a few problems threaten to delay its opening.

At a cross point in the Pacific Ocean, between the Melanesian and the Polynesian Islands, you will find the 300+ isles of Fiji. Approximately 80 percent of Fiji’s population lives on the main island of Viti Levu or a second island, Vanua Levu, leaving the remainder of the land as unspoiled nature reserves. Throughout the islands, the lush tropical landscape and dramatic mountains sloping to white sand beaches make this the perfect location for building an upscale tropical retreat and timeshare resort.

Fiji timeshare resort

At least this was the plan when PGA Tour superstar Vijay Singh added his name to the project under development by Asia Pacific Resort International Limited (known as APRIL). The plan’s overall design calls for 275 hotel rooms to be managed by InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, the brand behind Crowne Plaza, and Holiday Inn. There will also be an ocean-view championship golf course designed by Singh, residential homes, villas, a timeshare resort, marina, a convention center, and other recreational amenities.

But on March 16, 2007, the Fiji Times online edition released an article on the resignation of Louis Gerard Saliot, APRIL’s chief executive officer. Saliot’s past, it seems, includes two years jail time in Monaco in 1992 for breach of trust, and in 1993, a three-year sentence for breach of trust, complicity of bankruptcy, forgery, and use of forgeries. Saliot violated Fijian law when he failed to divulge this information at the time he applied for a foreign investor’s license.

However problems with Saliot are only one of the issues surrounding the Natadola Resort and Timeshare project. Only three days after breaking the news of Saliot’s resignation, the Fiji Times reported that a technical evaluation of the project revealed, “Much of the structural design for the Natadola Resort does not meet Fiji and New Zealand building code standards relating to earthquakes.”

With difficulties like this, it is not surprising that the project funder, the Fiji National Provident Fund, stepped in to prevent APRIL from completing the hotel and timeshare resort. But here’s where the problems grow even more complex. Vijay Singh has 31 PGA Tour victories and 22 international tournament wins, including the 2000 Masters, and the 1998 and 2004 PGA Championships. Singh, who serves as Fiji’s Ambassador for Sports, is arguably the most famous and influential native son of the Fijian islands. When the project’s problems became apparent, Singh quickly went public and said, (quoting the Fiji Times) “I am not happy with attempts to remove APRIL from its role as project developer/manager”.

Singh then went on to say that if Saliot was not in place at the helm and APRIL was not involved with the project, he would withdraw, “his name, his design for the golf course, and the proposed golf academy from the project altogether”. He added that he would seriously consider also resigning as the Fijian Ambassador of Sports.

I hope, for many reasons, this problem is soon resolved and construction of the hotel and Fiji timeshare resort is quickly back on track. Timeshare resorts are really beginning to gain popularity in Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific islands—and why not? These are some of the most beautiful destinations in the world and ideal locations for buying timeshare resales or enjoying timeshare rentals.

Vijay Singh is not simply the best professional golfer from Fiji; Singh is the only successful professional golfer from Fiji. Singh has made it clear that he wants to build his golf school so that the children of Fiji have an opportunity to learn and play the game, and perhaps even the chance to grow up and compete on an international level. Singh’s reputation as one of the hardest working players in professional golf is something to respect, and I’d like to see this Fiji hotel and timeshare resort succeed.

…I’ll keep you posted as the story unfolds.