The Fiji Times
Tourism to hit $3.2 billion
TOURIST spending in Fiji this year is projected to hit $3.2 billion by December, a year ahead of schedule, said Tourism Fiji’s chief executive officer Brent Hill.
In his address at the Reserve Bank of Fiji Tourism Seminar in Suva this week, Mr Hill said the average visitor spend (per person, per trip – measured by the annual Fiji International Visitor Survey (IVS)), had risen to $3572, pushing up the spending numbers for the sector.
“We’re referred to as the visitor economy because what we look at is the average visitors spend, which is measured for us in the IVS, which has risen to 3572 per person, so when you combine that with our visitation rate at the moment, out tourism growth output is at $2.1b,” Mr Hill said.
“And if we continue on the current run rate, we’re on track for $3.2b so we’re actually 12 months ahead of schedule. We wanted to be a $3b visitor economy by the end of 2024. And we will achieve that at some stage in December this year.”
Strong visitor arrivals, likely to cross the 900,000 mark for the first time, have pushed demand for rooms back to pre-COVID levels, with supply seriously lagging behind.
“We measure very closely our visitor arrivals and we’re on track for around 903,000. And our occupancy is at around 2019 level, so oscillates somewhere between 80 to 90 per cent range. If you speak to most hoteliers, they’ll tell you that 90 per cent is absolutely bursting at the seams,” Mr Hill said.
Describing Fiji Airways and other airline companies as “bullish
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on capacity”, Mr Hill called on owners of incomplete major hotel projects such as the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) to get things rolling urgently.
“For the last year we are doing everything possible to keep up with the supply side.
“So from that perspective of Crowne Plaza is opening up this wet season, so opening up somewhere around December, January, phased through to around April. So all of a sudden, you’ve got 324 rooms there.
“The Westin has been delayed, delayed, delayed – 246 rooms at the Westin, which we want opened as soon as possible. And I would say this if FNPF was here – let’s go!
“The time is absolutely now. The Denarau properties are yielding through the roof. You’ve got a major asset that’s sitting there that absolutely needs opening.”