Potentially, more than 4000 visitors will come here next year when Fiji hosts the 52nd Asian Development Bank (ADB) Annual Meeting, says the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
He told of this while addressing students and guests in Ra yesterday.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, who is the Acting Prime Minister said the meeting would be the first of its kind held in a Pacific Island state.
He said it was an important and mammoth task to host over 4000 people descending on Nadi for four or five days.
“It is a golden opportunity for Fiji to showcase to the rest of the world that Fiji has the capacity and the capability to host such large events,” he said.
He said it was also an opportunity to showcase Fiji’s capacity to host such meetings to the rest of the ADB member countries and all the other development partners because the participants did not only come from the ADB countries. He said some of them actually came from Europe and other countries as well.
“It will also be an opportunity in showcasing the vulnerability of the island states like Fiji and of course the rest of the Pacific.”
He said attending the ADB meeting in Manila, Philippines, last week also gave them the chance to engage and participate in seminars with leaders from countries like Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Big meeting to be inclusive of other Pacific nations
Although Nadi will host the ADB meeting next year, he said they would also like an input from other Pacific nations.
To do this, he said they plan “…to develop some seminars and topics that will be of relevance and to reach out to the other Pacific Island countries and say to them that we want their input too.”
He said the Fijian Government wanted other Pacific Island countries to see that the event was being hosted by the Pacific and not just Fiji. He also said that the ADB President, Takehiko Nakao, would visit the country in September.
Limited time for preparation
As far as time is concerned, the A-G said: “We will be working very diligently in the next few months. We do not have much time, we only have one year and to organise a conference of that scale, one year is actually a limited time.”
He said they would reach out to university students as volunteers.
“It will be a good opportunity for them. It will give them a lot of exposure with people coming from all over the world for these meetings,” he said.
The Fiji Police Force was also represented at the ADB meeting last week. He said they observed how security measures were taken in traffic logistics and other important security matters in relation to hosting a meeting of such a magnitude.