DESPITE a drop in the number of visitor arrivals to our shores in November last year, the Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association remains confident in the figures from the Bureau of Statistics.
The bureau registered 52,151 arrivals last November, a 0.7 per cent increase for the same month in 2011.
Compared to the October 2012 arrival figure of 62,686, the decrease of 16.2 per cent was still a consistently high figure, according to association president Dixon Seeto.
Mr Seeto said the November 2012 figure was not just a performance of the month but a benchmark for this year.
"We should be looking forward to the year-to-date. For the 12-month figure of November, this figure is a much better indication of a benchmark for visitors' arrival for this year," he said yesterday.
He said the 1.5 per cent drop in visitor arrivals from January to November last year was mainly because of the floods and cyclone that impacted our country.
Government statistician Epeli Waqavonovono said Australia remained Fiji's main source of visitors with 26,927 arrivals — representing 51.3 per cent of all arrivals in November last year.
New Zealand followed with 6888, representing 13.1 per cent.
Mr Waqavonovono said 38,633 visitors came to Fiji for holiday purposes, a decrease of 1.6 per cent when compared to the same period in 2011.
A further 3965 came to visit their friends while the rest came for other reasons.
"Air transit passengers for the month totalled 4329, an increase of 17.9 per cent from that of November 2011. Cruise ship passengers for November 2012 totalled 5453 compared to 6065 in November 2011."
A decrease for November 2012 when compared to 2011 was recorded for visitors from the United Kingdom, Korea, Continental Europe and Japan.
However, there was an increase in arrivals from China and US.
With the new planes by Fiji Airways (formerly known as Air Pacific) expected in the country soon, the re-branding of Tourism Fiji and the efficiency and the co-operation of stakeholder, Mr Seeto said people could expect an increase in the performance of the tourism industry this year.