Nadi, Fiji – Foreign exchange earnings emanating from Fiji’s international visitation now contribute an estimated FJD900 million to the local economy.
Tourism Fiji CEO Josefa Tuamoto said the result represented a massive return on investment for the Fiji government which has again pledged FJD23.5 million in fiscal year 2011-2012 to assist the national tourist office in promoting Fiji to a global audience.
Mr Tuamoto’s comments follow the release of preliminary visitor arrival figures by Attorney-General and Minister for Tourism Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday which indicate some 620,000 international visitors travelled to Fiji last year.
Echoing the minister’s comments, Mr Tuamoto said this was a milestone achievement for the sector and proof that the national tourist office’s overseas marketing strategies are hitting the mark.
Mr Tuamoto paid particular tribute to his Fiji tourism industry colleagues, all of which he said had played a significant role in helping Tourism Fiji achieve its objectives on the international stage.
“We are also extremely thankful to the government for the critical role it plays in enabling us to continue to promote Fiji not only in our traditional overseas source markets but additionally in several important emerging source markets including China and India.
“As importantly we are delighted with the huge return on investment and the accruable benefits this most positive result represents to all Fijians.
“But now is not the time to rest on our laurels.
“Having surpassed our initial 2010 targets, we now very much need to consolidate our efforts internationally in order to encourage even more international travellers to visit our islands and at the same time maximize Fiji’s return on investment in this key national industry sector.
“This will be the case in our traditional source markets and also key emerging markets, such as China and India, where our marketing efforts have borne fruit throughout 2010 as evidenced by the exponential growth in visitor arrivals from both countries.”
Tourism now represents some 25 per cent of the country’s total GDP and is responsible for employing some 45,000 full time equivalent jobs within the total Fijian workforce.