February 17, 2017 8:45 am

Tourism banks on $2.2 billion plan

The government hopes to continue the growth in visitor arrivals and earnings that have been the trend over the past few years.

Tourism Permanent Secretary, Mr Shaheen Ali outlined the ministry’s roadmap at the official opening of the first stakeholder consultation on the Fijian Tourism 2021 in Suva yesterday.

Stakeholders at the first stakeholder consultation on the Fijian Tourism 2021 in Suva.
Stakeholders at the first stakeholder meeting on the Fijian Tourism 2021 in Suva.

Mr Ali said Fiji hoped on “elevating the Fijian tourism industry earnings to $2.2 billion by the end of 2021.”

Fiji’s earnings from tourism for 2015 was estimated at $1,560.2 million. This represented an 11.1% increase over the 2014 estimate.

According to Mr Ali, the Fijian Tourism Development Plan aims to:

  • expand visitor expenditure and tourism yield;
  • create a conducive environment for a sustainable increase in visitor arrivals;
  • and support the development of a sustainable and inclusive tourism sector.

“The visitor arrivals and earnings have been increasing by record numbers over the past few years. We want this trend to continue, especially regarding earnings. Therefore, Government saw the need to put in place a plan that will consolidate and coordinate efforts towards the growth of the industry,” Mr Ali said.

According to Mr Shaheen, areas that will help achieve their target include:

  • Building an industry that is resilience, productive and focuses on quality.
  • Rigorous marketing of the Fijian brand in the traditional markets to explore the untapped potential, and also the targeting of new and emerging markets of Asia.
  • Investments in infrastructure that will lead to investment in the tourism industry.
  • Influencing quality investment to grow the sector in a sustainable manner. Provision of the best tourism industry incentives.
  • Rolling out business support programmes that will provide tourism businesses (especially micro, small and medium business) with the opportunity to enhance their capability to promote their businesses, taking advantage of international online platforms.
  • Capacity building in the tourism industry to enable improvement in standards. We will also target specialised training and address skills shortages in the tourism industry.
  • Enhanced coordination between Government Ministries and public promotion agencies to, firstly, collectively and better marketplace the Fijian Brand and, secondly, ensure that the benefits from the tourism sector are spread further in the economy.
  • We need to leverage of international events, better targeting benefits to Fiji, and
  • We need to ensure that the industry is prepared for climate change and global economic shocks.

Close to 30 representatives from the tourism industry and relevant government agencies took part in the consultation.