PM: First Quarter Visitor Arrivals Up 10.2%
Tourism expected to lead way in achieving a three per cent economic growth this year
Effects of Tropical Cyclone Winston has not dampened the spirits of our visitors and we continue to be on track for another bumper year for tourism this year. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama highlighted this yesterday as he opened the 2016 Fijian Tourism Expo at Denarau.
He announced our first quarter visitor arrivals recorded a 10.2 per cent increase compared to the same period the past year. Mr Bainimarama revealed a total of 158,069 visitors came to Fiji in the first three months of the year despite the devastating effects of Tropical Cyclone Winston.
“Our March visitor arrivals alone totaled 55,977, up 9.7 per cent from the same period last year,” he said. “So far from being down in the wake of Cyclone Winston, our arrivals have actually gone up. And we are set for another bumper year for tourism, both in numbers and earnings.”
2015 was the biggest year ever for Fijian tourism in terms of numbers and earnings and while expectations were for numbers this year to be significantly down, the reality on ground is defying the odds.
In fact, our tourism sector is expected to lead the way in achieving a three per cent economic growth this year as we rebuild the country post the natural disaster. Mr Bainimarama said this wonderful achievement was testament to the success of the way the entire industry swung into action to minimise the impact of Cyclone Winston on visitor numbers. “As we can see, the close collaboration has already yielded a good result for Team Fiji,” he said. “And it shows us what we can do if we can pool our resources and our brainpower to confront any challenge, however daunting.” Mr Bainimarama stressed the five-year target to achieve Government’s vision of making Fijian tourism a $2-billion a year industry. “But we now think we can do so much sooner if we can capitalise on the effectiveness of our response to Winston and keep the momentum going,” he said.
At the Fijian Tourism Expo Opening at Denarau: From left: Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Shaheen Ali, Tourism Fiji Board director, Howard Politini Junior (back), Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association President, Dixon Seeto, Tourism Fiji executive chairman, Truman Bradley, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya and Fiji Airways MD/CEO, Andre Viljoen.