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Our region is a world of food

The world is actively travelling again and as destinations compete for honours, French Polynesia and Fiji are again competing with Australia and New Zealand to become the Oceania Culinary Destination of the Year finalists at the World Culinary Awards.

Both French Polynesia and Fiji also made the cut as finalists last year, with the award won by New Zealand. They have both also recently won regional titles at the Airline Passenger Experience Association awards.

According to the Pacific Tourism Organization, culinary tourism remains a less explored art in the region but is slowly picking up pace.

“This is exciting and interesting times for our Pacific Island nations being nominated for these awards,” said CEO Christopher Cocker.

“The region is recovering from the global pandemic and being recognised or nominated for such awards is a testament to the Pacific’s uniqueness and the richness of our food and culture. For many generations food has played a significant role in our Pacific culture, and we are only now just sharing this with visitors to our shores.”

“Poisson cru au lait de coco” a national specialty of French Polynesia, which is a finalist as Oceania Culinary Destination of the Year at the 2022 World Culinary Awards. Picture – Tahiti Tourisme

National Oceania titles for 2022’s Best Restaurant and Best Hotel Restaurant include nominees from the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

These popular holiday markets are in varying stages of travel access and for Fiji, a possible title as Oceania Culinary Destination this year is welcome recognition.

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“This is a testament to what Fiji can do and achieve,” said Brent Hill, CEO of Tourism Fiji.

The country’s tourism marketing arm recently hosted MasterChef Australia’s 2021 winner, Justin Narayan to a culinary excursion of local establishments.

Coffee being harvested in the Austral Islands of French Polynesia, a finalist as Oceania Culinary Destination 2022. Picture: Tahiti Tourisme

“We all know Fiji has some amazing, delicious food across the many cultures that make up modern day Fiji, due in large part to the fresh produce we can get access to in Fiji. So, for us we’re happy with this golden opportunity with Justin, which is a great way to showcase what Fiji has to offer visitors.”

Its national airline Fiji Airways recently scooped the Best Food and Beverage title for the South Pacific from the Airline Passenger Experience Association.

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