PM: First Quar­ter Visi­tor Ar­rivals Up 10.2%

Tourism ex­pected to lead way in achiev­ing a three per cent eco­nomic growth this year

Fiji Sun - - Weather / TV, Movie Guide - CHARLES CHAM­BERS Feed­back: rach­nal@fi­jisun.com.fj

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.

Photo: CHARLES CHAM­BERS

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.

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