FIJI'S tourism industry needs to open up more three-star hotels.
This was the view put forward by the chairman of the Commerce Commission, Doctor Mahendra Reddy, while addressing participants at a mini business forum organised by the Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday.
"The real scenario is that our tourism industry is pricing itself out of the market. Our tourism industry relative to Hawaii and some of the Caribbean region is much more expensive. What we need to do is look at establishing more three-star hotels.
"There are a significant number of travellers that are targeting three-star and not five-star accommodation because they basically can't afford it," he said.
Dr Reddy also warned retailers and outlets that were selling basic items at grossly inflated prices at tourist centres around the country.
"If you go down to Denarau and purchase a bottle of Fiji Water it will cost you three times more than the standard supermarket price. We can understand if it costs twice as much, but not three times more.
"This is the kind of scenario that forces regulators to really get there and start regulating goods and services that should not ideally be regulated," he said.
Dr Reddy added that the issue was raised with his office by frustrated tourism operators and he lamented the adverse effect it was having on the tourism sector.
"Tourists are complaining that while room rates may be okay, retail outlets on Denarau Island are charging exorbitant prices. So we have written to them and told them that what they're doing is affecting the whole tourism business.
"Visitors are returning to their homes and saying that prices are too expensive in Fiji. Something seriously needs to be done before this comes under the ambit of the regulator," he said.