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Tourism plays a critical role

Shayal Devi
Friday, December 06, 2013

TOURISM plays a critical role in the Fijian economy and contributes about 33 per cent of Fiji's gross domestic product, says Attorney-General and Minister for Tourism Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Speaking at the closing of the annual Tourism Industry Day, he said numerous changes and audits were carried out within the tourism industry.

He said work on how best to position the industry in the 21st century was also in progress.

"There have been a number of changes done such as the revamping of websites, which is actually being developed some more and a bit more work is to be done to make it interactive," he said.

"There have also been significant personnel changes and it has been critical that the right people with the right qualifications are there to deliver to us through the investment we have been making."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said tourism was a competitive industry because Fiji was always competing globally.

"We are focusing on ensuring every tourism dollar is retained, especially in villages and settlements that tourists come to.

"The next step is to see how best we utilise tourism dollars and how it should stay within Fiji."

He added the government had been providing unprecedented funding into infrastructure such as the building of roads, water and electricity supply.

This had a direct impact on the employers.

New incentives introduced by the government were also beneficial for the tourism sector like the five to 10 per cent tax on importing vessels.

He also said the industry would be further boosted by the free education scheme put in place by the government.

"It also gives a better pool of people who are much better qualified and in five years time, employers will have a very well-trained and employable workforce."

He said similar plans could be extended to post graduate studies.