Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-10-8 16:37:28
With the current trend so far, Fiji's tourism industry is expected to see another record year by the end of 2012, said Fiji Hoteliers Association President Dixon Seeto on Monday.
The industry experienced hiccups during the floods in January, however it bounced back with coordinated effort of the stakeholders, Seeto said, adding they had tried to attract more visitors from China and India and this is expected to gain momentum when the national airline Air Pacific gets its new fleet in 2013.
According to Seeto, with budget announcement expected soon, his association met with the Finance Ministry and the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority last week and have given their submission for next year's budget.
Total visitor arrivals reached 675,000 last year, which is expected to increase in 2012.
The tourism industry has contributed significantly to the country's economy and is the largest and the fastest growing industry in terms of employment creation and foreign exchange earnings.
The industry, which provides employment directly and indirectly to an estimated 45,000 people, is mainly private sector driven and contributes approximately 25 percent to the gross domestic product.
The industry has grown at an annual rate of 10 to 12 percent over the last decade, but has slowed in the last few years. The majority of visitors come from the Pacific, especially Australia, but Fiji has been pushing hard to reach the Chinese population.
However, the Asia Economic Institute noted that Fiji's tourism is now struggling amid the global financial crisis and political instability.
In an attempt to stimulate tourism, the Ministry of Tourism created an accreditation program called the Sustainable Tourism Accreditation Program, which will introduce improvements to tourism service providers.