$44.2m spent annually, study shows

Inosi Cabealawa (left) with Jone Raiyawa and Meli Tokalau greet Australian tourists Beverly Harrison and Kate Hewitt at the Port of Lautoka during the arrival of Pacific Explorer on Monday, August 15, 2022. Picture: SITERI SAUVAKACOLO

A 2018 study revealed that PRE-COVID, cruise companies, passengers and crew combined spent approximately $44.2 million annually in Fiji.

Permanent secretary for the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Shaheen Ali noted this in welcoming more than 1000 visitors on board the Pacific Explorer at the Port of Lautoka yesterday.

“Based on a 2018 study, every cruise visit brings in over $300,000 to Fiji and every passenger around $90 per day,” Mr Ali said.

In fact, cruise passengers spend FJ$118 in Lautoka – higher than any other Fijian port.

“The return of cruise to Fiji is not only welcomed news from our major ports – it’s welcomed news for Fijians across our maritime islands who earned a living through cruise visits.”

With cruise vessels soon docking Fijian waters, Mr Ali noted that the spend by visitors would directly benefit handicraft sellers – who are mostly women – as well as taxis, market vendors, retailers, and tour operators who line up at the ports on cruise days.

He shared with management of P&O Cruises and local tourism stakeholders that while our borders were closed, the government provided hundreds of millions in social and unemployment support, including to tourism workers.

“During this period, we introduced tax reforms to boost competitiveness. We provided incentives to fuel investment.

“We established policies that bought us a full year without local cases and created opportunities to bring in luxury visitors, yachts, film crew, students, investors and skilled persons, despite our borders being closed.

“By December 2021, we became the first few Pacific nations to re-open with over 95 per cent of our population fully vaccinated.” |

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