Need to diversify source markets

IT is essential for the country to have a range of tourist source markets rather than just its traditional ones — neighbours Australia and New Zealand.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said while they wanted the number of tourists from traditional markets to grow, it was necessary to reduce dependency on any one source market.

“To mitigate our risks, Fiji needs new source markets and we cannot be dependent on just our traditional markets like Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

“We want them, we want their number to grow but we want to reduce our percentage of dependency on one or two countries. If you depend on only one or two source markets, what if there is an economic downturn in those countries?

“If you have about 70 per cent of our tourists coming from only two countries and if there is an economic downturn, a majority of the hotel rooms will be empty and this will have a huge impact on our economy.”

He said for the past number of years, Government had partnered with Fiji Airways in terms of marketing.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this was done when the airline began direct flights to Singapore through a marketing partnership grant of $18 million.

“We’ve been criticised for it, both in Parliament and outside of it without people understanding the importance of it and we stand up to those criticisms, we believe in the long run that it will pay off.”

Airline CEO and managing director Andre Viljoen said the company continually worked to strengthen ties with international airlines with whom they held code share agreements.

“In terms of strategic partnerships, this is where we forge stronger alliances with international airlines that open up their destinations that we connect to,” he said.

” And in the year 2017, we exponentially increased the destinations we now serve from 69 to 108 in 17 countries.We now codeshare with 11 airlines and have 33 inter line agreements.”

Fiji Airways’ codeshare partners include Qantas, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Jet Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, Jetstar, and Alaska Airlines.