WHILE the sugar industry is taking a slow tumble, tourism has emerged as a potential major source of support towards Fiji's sagging economy.
This sector, according to Fiji National University's Professor Tiru Jayaraman, has been recognised as one of the most important income-generating sectors in many economies of the sub-region in the Pacific.
Professor Jayaraman said tourism provided employment for 40,000 people directly and indirectly. "Earnings from tourism rose by 27.7 per cent from $823million in 2006 to $1051m in 2011," Dr Jayaraman said at the Fiji Economy Update 2012 yesterday.
"Tourism arrivals, which are on an increasing trend, reached a record number of 631,868 in 2010. Tourism is the highest foreign exchange earner — $874m — contributing around 25 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
"The next highest contributor is remittances of $258m followed by sugar with $173m."