Hollywood star gets shipwrecked for tourism

Fiji is officially counting down the final days until the first passenger steps onto the Nadi International Airport tarmac.

Thousands of holiday-hungry tourists, all starved of overseas jaunts for more than 18 months, will land in the popular Pacific destination from December 1.

At last count before the worldwide pandemic, two out of every five visitors to Fiji were Australians.

It’s no wonder that Fijian campaigns have an ongoing love affair with glitzy or glamorous Aussies.

First there was Chris Hemsworth, now there is Rebel Wilson.

Hollywood heartthrob Hemsworth, who grew up intermittently across a number of outback cattle stations in the Northern Territory, was the friendly face for Tourism Fiji back in 2016.

He signed a $A1.25 million deal ($US900,000) to sell picture-perfect golden sands, crystal-blue oceans and unmistakeable palm trees to wide-eyed guests.

Rebel Wilson in Fiji
Rebel Wilson plays up to the camera to promote Fiji mostly to Australian tourists. Picture: Twitter, Brent Hill

Now Tourism Fiji has announced that Wilson will be the new public face of the tourism authority’s latest promotion.

Chief executive Brent Hill is not surprisingly upbeat about a place whose sunsets always deliver lifetime memories.

“The campaign is called ‘Open for Happiness’, and reflects exactly what Fiji does like nowhere else in the world – welcome our guests with a genuine warmth and Bula spirit that will leave you in love with Fiji and its people,” he said in a statement.

“We look forward to shortly sharing the full campaign of what Rebel got up to in her time here.”

The Pacific Advocate was given some insight into Wilson’s visit two weeks earlier before the Tourism Fiji confirmed another blockbuster signing.

Fijian cult guitarist Apakuki Nalawa was at the heart of the campaign in a playful serenade.


“I only found out who I was playing for when she boarded the cruise boat,” Nalawa told The Pacific Advocate.

Wilson was dressed up, in her own words, looking “shipwrecked glam” for an idyllic one-and-a-half-hour sail around the islands.

The songs, the serenading, the setting and the sunset evoked emotions she wants other Australians to experience from a well-deserved holiday.

“Thanks to my talented team who turned on the shipwrecked-glam look all week in Fiji,” she wrote on her Instagram.

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The Sydney entertainer also expressed she was grateful to be chosen to represent a country that has always had strong links to Australia.

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone in Fiji, Tourism Fiji, the Fiji government, Fiji Airways – everything has just been so amazing,” she said.

“It’s been such an amazing trip; I’m so proud to be doing these commercials for Fiji and promoting your beautiful country.”

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