Opening new tourism markets with best travel options available
The ongoing protests in Hong Kong is a good example of what Government has been alluding to in the past on the need to diversify the tourism market.
It has always been reiterated that Fiji can no longer rely on Australia and New Zealand, our two biggest markets, to hold our tourism sector up as Fiji’s main contributor to the Growth Domestic Product (GDP). Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Saiyad-Khaiyum has always pressed on the need to look beyond these two countries.
The opening of the Chinese market, with the opportunity to be one of the biggest contributors to tourism, was an important step for diversification. Rosie Holidays and Tour managers have led the way in securing some of the market from China.
Rosie Holidays brings in direct flights from China once a year while the remaining Chinese have been coming through Hong Kong as Fiji Airways provides a direct flight from there.
The protests in Hong Kong has caused disruptions and this has caused two cancellations of conferences of Chinese business people that were scheduled to be held here.
For the Chinese traveller coming here through other routes is more expensive with a lot more paper work and adds to the lengthy travel time. They would rather travel to other destinations.
That is why the need to continue to open up new tourism markets must continue with the best travel options available.
Simply put, those going on holidays do not want to spend between 10 to 20 hours travelling to their destination.
South Pacific Tourism Organisation chief executive officer Christopher Cocker said sustainability was important to the Pacific.
In this case the reason why they were diversifying the markets was because Fiji or any other regional island nation could not depend on Australia and New Zealand. Because, if any economic crisis happens in these countries, it would affect all.
He said the fastest emerging markets were India and South America.
The Pacific gets about 5.3 per cent of the Chinese market share and that’s about 5.3 per cent or 2.1 million air visitors, which was only around 100,000 plus in the region.
But to compete with other tourist destinations around the world, we have to ensure better attractions and prices.
No more do tourist come and lay in the sun for half a day, knock back a few drinks and go back to their room.
The curiosity for tradition and the attachment to nature has increased among the wants of tourists and for that we need to sustain our environment and especially our traditions.
We can do it because the smiles of the Fijian people and unwavering hospitality towards our guests is renowned throughout the world.
Add tradition and nature to that and we will surely be more sought after than ever before.