Travel Agency owner Chris Watson and his wife Gemma have been busy organising an epic online festival, called Tunes In The Tropics, that went live at the weekend, to support and raise money for communities in need, in their second home, Fiji.
The Travel, Tourism & Arts sectors have to be among the hardest-hit industries of COVID-19. With businesses seeing an overnight halt to their livelihoods and travel agents working overtime for no return.
If there is someone that can always look on the bright side is Travel Agency owner Chris Watson. Chris, along with his wife Gemma, own & operate Chris Watson Travel & Rediscover Australia. They are fighting Covid-19 on the front foot and have remained positive throughout the tough times.
Chris, seeing the impact of the pandemic worldwide and especially on countries who have little or no government help, took it upon himself to come up with a plan to help those less fortunate in a place that they love to visit and is like a second home to the Watson Family – Fiji.
So far the event has raised $5120, and that figure is climbing.
Tourism is an essential industry to the Fijian economy, as it generated more than $300 million in the third quarter of 2019 alone.
Did you know? More than 41,000 people are employed either directly or indirectly through tourism.
In recent weeks, Fiji Airways laid off 775 employees and souvenir business Jack’s of Fiji laid off 500. People are coping in the short term by reviving subsistence farming, fishing, and bartering for goods and services. Many are still suffering, however, due to limited state welfare systems.
Chris & His family, along with their businesses has a long relationship with Fiji and runs a country music festival there called Tunes In The Tropics, over the years sponsoring the local school raising funds for Cyclone Winston, sponsoring NACARE and helping the local communities.
Chris Watson Travel run numerous group tours to Fiji with the largest being Tunes In The Tropics – an intimate country music festival that takes over the Hideaway Resort & Spa and is celebrating 12 years of the event in 2021.
“I simply mentioned the idea of running an online concert to Ashleigh Dallas and next minute we were in planning mode, in less than a week we pulled off an uplifting afternoon of live stream entertainment and made a huge difference.”
The Country Music & Travel Industry joined forces on Saturday 8th August to assist the tourism industry in Fiji artists: John Stone from Nashville, Adam Harvey, Darren Coggan, Amber Lawrence, Roo Arcus, Andrew Swift, Pete Denahy and of course Ashleigh Dallas.
Artist Travis Collins was unable to be part of the concert but donated $500 to help the people of Fiji.
Sound Technician Peter Scott from PC Scott Audio Productions assisted, Sean Rudd & Adrian Davis from Start Webcast and Peppertone Studios sponsored the stream, Storyline Studio supported with artwork and graphic designs and the event was presented by country music travel agents Chris Watson Travel.
“I was a little lost for words if I’m honest, the generosity was amazing,” said Golden Guitar winner Ashleigh Dallas.
Together in Travel
Chris along with his clients in 2018 raised over $50,000 for Rural aid and the Buy a Bale Campaign, in 2020 they had raised over $22,000 for the Salvation Army Bush Fire appeal and now over $5000 to assist the families in Fiji.
“We know times were tough and thought maybe we could crack $2000 but our clients just blew us away, clearly those that have travelled with us to Fiji have a special place in their heart for Fiji and the current tally of over $5000 is amazing – Just simply amazing”.
The online concert has currently raised over $5000, Many Local Fiji Families from the Hideaway Resort & Spa tuned in and commented on the concert. The money will be spent to supply food hampers for the staff at Hideaway Resort & Spa who have been out of work since March when all resorts were closed by government order to protect the Island against Covid-19.
If you’d like to donate, you can click here – donations are open until Friday 14 August.
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