Fiji: Growth in the tourism sector
Fiji’s tourism industry is the most significant contributor of foreign revenue, therefore, an essential unit of its economy. The tourism sector is growing steadily with annual visitor records indicating a 6.4 percent growth in 2017. A total of 842884 visitors came into Fiji in 2017 compared to 792320 visitors in 2016.
The government of Fiji has placed more focus on the tourism sector to ensure that it keeps growing. Efforts such as investment into the industry, direct marketing, and proper policy framework have provided the sector’s steady growth. This is according to a statement released by the Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources, Mr. Faiyaz Koya.
Mr. Koya acknowledged that the government was committed to working with the industry’s stakeholders to achieve the unprecedented results. He noted that Fiji had invested in establishing more direct flights to key destinations and extension of code-sharing arrangements. This allowed for direct strategic marketing by Tourism Fiji. Fiji also plans to enter the Northeast Asian tourist market by July, this year. New direct flights to Narita, Japan will start operation.
Fiji has so far extended code-sharing arrangements with various international airlines like Alaskan Airlines, Jet Airways, and American Airlines. This ensures Fiji maximizes on revenue returns from existing direct routes and new routes. These include Adelaide, San Francisco, and Singapore. Air connectivity to different markets potentially attracts more visitors coming into Fiji. Similarly, the government has also invested in fleet expansion plans such as aircraft with higher sitting capacities. Tourism Fiji, which is charged with marketing the tourism sector, has contributed significantly to the sector’s growth. Tourism Fiji is expected to push tourism growth to $2.2 billion by 2021.
Tourism Fiji has undertaken various marketing strategies that have entirely been successful: niche marketing whereby the focus is put on high-yielding markets while lessening seasonality; establishing marketing and trade partnerships; code-sharing arrangements and leveraging the new routes; and increasing their presence in potential markets like Singapore, India, and China.
Minister Koya also noted the continued hospitability nature of Fijians towards visitors as an essential aspect of growing the industry. He also mentioned Fiji’s favorable climate and spectacular sceneries as the primary drives of tourist attraction. The government is also keen on spreading the sector’s benefits to visitors. It is in the process of establishing a world-class shopping complex, Wairabetia Economic Zone where tourists can access all products that Fiji has to offer. The ministry of tourism is focused on spearheading initiatives that target the grass root level to drive tourism growth.
The government has invested highly in infrastructure including roads and expansion/renovation of airports. Such include the new Wailoaloa-Denarau link roads, upgrade project of Nadi International Airport, and the Nasoso-Nadi four-lane highway.
Fiji has also held several high-level meetings which play essential tourism marketing roles. It will also hold the 34th FAO Regional Conference and the 30th UNWTO Joint meeting, among others.