The idea is simple: top Hollywood actor Rebel Wilson is keen to escape the pressures of stardom and seeks a place to find love. She flees Los Angeles and becomes a castaway on a raft in the middle of the Pacific
The result is a hilarious take on a Fiji holiday that has sparked an “unprecedented and massive” holiday booking frenzy from travel-starved Australians.
Just 24 hours after the launch of Rebel Wilson’s multi-million dollar advertising campaign for Tourism Fiji, promoting its 333 islands are now ”Open for Happiness”, Aussies went into a clicking frenzy to book up one of Fiji’s most expensive resorts, the six-star Vomo Island Resort where Rebel stayed for eight days filming the ad.
“After nearly 20 months of no tourists visiting Fiji, we needed a celebrity to kick start our campaign to get them back,” said Sarah-Louise Robinson, marketing manager of Tourism Fiji.
And Rebel with a following of more than 10.2 million on Istagram, has done just that. The campaign has already paid off – and it has only been playing for 24 hours.
The ad shows Rebel snorkelling off Vomo island, Rebel enjoying a picnic of fresh oysters on a private sandbank , Rebel climbing to the top of Mount Vomo and Rebel luxuriating on a private beach fanned by an adoring local.
“It’s all about finding happiness in Fiji. Fijians are the happiest people in the world according to a recent Gallup International poll, so the campaign was an extension of this theme,” Ms Robinson explained .
And there’s plenty of love to share around, particularly with hundreds of pristine islands, palm-fringed beaches and crystal clear waters, to choose from.
Growing up in Australia, Rebel has fond memories of visiting Fiji as a child.
“When someone asks you whether you want to visit Fiji – there is really only one answer isn’t there? It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world,” she said.
“I had the best time filming this campaign, there really is nothing like the white sand and clear waters of Fiji. It is truly breathtaking.
“But even more than the landscape, I love Fiji the most for its people. Everyone greets you with a smile and a ‘bula’, the warmth and hospitality of everyone I met is something I will always remember. Fiji truly is open for happiness,” she said.
As Steve Cochran of Saatchi & Saatchi which masterminded the filming of the campaign said: “The last couple of years have been extraordinary and have given everyone reason to reflect on what’s truly important to them. As we emerge from a time of lockdowns, Fiji certainly offers the world something special for those who are looking to put some fun back into their life, but in a meaningful way.
“Fiji’s platform of ‘Where Happiness Finds You’ was perfectly set for the mindset of travellers right now. We thought Rebel was ideal for bringing this story to life with her Australasian connection to the Pacific, having her own personal transformation journey and of course she’s a damn funny and talented actor.”
Australia is Fiji’s top tourist market with more than 400,000 Aussies a year visiting the idyllic islands, pre-pandemic. With Rebel’s ad campaign, numbers are expected to easily exceed the figure.
So what are Rebel’s favourite Fiji experiences?
The heavenly tropical islands of Fiji are quintessentially the South Pacific paradise.
You can stroll along the sandy, white beaches or climb ancient archaeological sites; soak in therapeutic mud pools and hot springs; dive with sharks in Beqa Lagoon or go white rafting in the Navua River through pristine rainforests. The main international gateway lies near the large resorts on the Coral Coast and Denarau Island.
On the outer island such as the Mamanuca Islands, they are home to the world’s top surf breaks while other islands shelter mystical caves which are Fiji’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s fourth biggest barrier reef.
If you want to sample several of Fiji’s best islands, take the 68-passenger, Blue Lagoon Cruise which offers different itineraries to picture-postcard Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands. You can go swimming, fishing, snorkelling in pristine waters, picnic on uninhabited islands and immerse yourself in some local culture by visiting villages.
For serious surfers in search of challenging waves, head to Cloudbreak near Namotu Island Resort where the waves vary from two to 20 feet. You can also try Funky Fish Beach Resort or Lomani Island Resort.
Hikers, bird watchers and nature lovers can soak up Fiji’s lush natural beauty in Bouma National Heritage Park on the island of Taveuni, home to 150 sq kilometres of rain forest, rare tropical plants and amazing diversity of birds.You can go kayaking long the Lavena Coast or hike to the ancient ruins near Vidawa. Make sure you visit the Tavoro Waterfalls and crater lake, Lake Tagimaucia.
The Navua River on Viti Levu has magnificent scenery with lush rainforests, waterfalls and rugged canyons.
You can paddle up the Upper Navua River in kayaks, float on bilibili (bamboo rafts) or ride the whitewater rapids in an inflatable raft. Fruit bats, herons and native parrots can be easily spotted or you can go for a cultural tour to local villages and experience the traditional kava ceremonies.
Keen gardeners should visit the Garden of the Sleeping Giant on the lush foothills of the mountains, about 30 minute drive from Nadi. Once the private collection of the late actor Raymond Burr of Perry Mason television fame, the gardens houses more than 2000 species of brilliantly coloured orchids. Make sure you also visit the Sabeto Hot Springs and mud pools nearby.
Fiji’s fourth largest island Kadavu has the 100-kilometre long Great Astrolabe Reef the fourth largest barrier reef in the world. Divers can experience a wonderful underwater world of caverns, tunnels and pinnacles and tropical fish.
Fijians also love kids and are excellent for organising kids-only activities in resorts. With its sun, sea and salt, friendly Fiji and its accompanying islands offer some of the best holiday spots to take your family and kids.
You can have your own luxury stay with our exclusive Explore deals. Check them out here: https://book.exploretravel.com.au/deals-and-offers/details/luxury-island-cruising-fiji-794
About travel to Fiji
Fiji will say ‘BULA!’ to visitors arriving at the Nadi International Airport from 1st December 2021. Fiji is quarantine-free for tourists! The vast majority of the time you’ll have in Fiji will be fun, relaxing, adventurous and full of our famous Bula spirit. But there are some things you need to be aware of, in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Now that local vaccination rates have reached 90% of our adult population, Fiji can safely welcome fully vaccinated visitors from Travel Partner countries back to our shores. Currently Fiji recognises Astra-Zeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson.
About the Care Fiji Commitment
Apart from the required tests and documents needed to board their flights, all travellers to Fiji must have an minimum 3 night accommodation booking at a Care Fiji Commitment certified property (eg your resort, boat, island or hotel), and will also be required to undertake a mandatory Rapid COVID-19 diagnostic test 48 hours after their arrival at their hotel, activate the careFIJI contact tracing app and avoid travel to communities in low vaccination areas.
During these first 48 hours, you are certainly free to enjoy Fiji – we only ask that you use Care Fiji Commitment operators and tourism experiences, check in using QR codes and provide proof of vaccination to stay as safe as possible.
Explore more: tourismfiji.com.fj