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Hard to sell items

Rebecca Medhurst
Thursday, March 13, 2014

AS PASSENGERS flock straight from the cruise liners to the market stalls of the King's Wharf, stall holders push to sell their souvenirs to tourists of innumerable nationalities.

Apakuki Tabua has owned a stall for more than 45 years, and workers on his stall, including his son, spoke of their experience in the family business.

"We bring the handicraft items from the village and then bring the money back to the village," one worker on the stall explained.

"But it seems it's more difficult than it appears to sell these souvenirs to visiting tourists.

"It's all hard to sell" they described, with Russian and other European tourists allegedly pushing for the hardest bargain.

One reason that may explain this hesitancy of tourists to purchase Fijian handicraft items is the tight Customs laws adopted by some countries in recent years.

"There are lots of stories around that they cannot take something back to Australia or the UK," one worker said.

This opinion was verified by an Australian passenger of the Rhapsody of the Seas, who told this newspaper that he had only bought boots while in Suva.

"It's hard to know what we can take back and what we can't," he reasoned.

With a lack of business because of tourists' concerns that they may be wasting their money on something that they can't take home, the competition is fierce among the King's Wharf stall holders, as they try their hardest to sell their goods to tourists unconcerned by potential Customs issues.

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