THE tourism industry's rapid return to business after Tropical Cyclone Evan wreaked havoc in December last year was achieved through lessons learnt from previous natural disasters, most notably the floods in 2009 and January last year.
This was the view of Tourism Fiji chairman and Air Pacific CEO and managing director David Pflieger.
"The most notable thing for me about the impact of the cyclone was how much faster and better we were all able to demonstrate to the world that Fiji was back open for business," Mr Pflieger said.
"If you compare what happened in the aftermath of the natural disasters last year to what happened in 2009 where we had the huge flood that hurt the airline and hurt resorts and hotels for a good three to four months — we managed to turn things around in record time," he said.
"After the floods and cyclone last year we were open for business and wanted to get that business back here so that we could keep people employed and so we could continue to make sure that tourism had its favourable impact on the economy.
"From what I gathered, I've heard stories that some hotels that were affected by the cyclone were able to use this positively as an opportunity to shut down operations and actually do refurbishments and improvements they were planning to do anyway — the Westin is an example and I understand Rosie as well.
"At the end of the day, turning a negative into a positive, there's been a silver lining in that cloud that passed over the country and I see great things ahead in 2013," Mr Pflieger said.