Editorial comment – Keeping a tab on figures

Tourists from the cruise ship Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas enjoy their day out in Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FILE

It is encouraging to know that tourism bookings from the Canadian market are well above the 2019 level, and that of the Northern American market looks solid.

We have a report today about Tourism Fiji chief executive Brent Hill suggesting the Nadi-Vancouver promotional flight allowed the team to seal the deal and carried out a lot of work in terms of marketing in these particular markets.

North America, he said, was really solid and Canada already was above 2019 levels with the work being done on the Vancouver launch.

“We are now 120 per cent to 2019 for Canada so that is wonderful to see that growth already,” he said.

It was especially good to know that tourist numbers were filtering through to smaller tourism operators. Visitors, he said, had made use of exclusive offers available at the Sun Coast, Taveuni, and Savusavu and even out to Lau.

Local tourism properties were doing very well and occupancy was above 80 per cent through mid-September.

A total of 70,100 visitors visited Fiji in August.

Earlier this week, we had a report about statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport which showed that Fiji recorded $337.5 million in tourism earnings in the second quarter of the year.

Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association chief executive Fantasha Lockington said not only was this good news for tourism but also for the Fijian economy.

Tourism, she insisted, had “well and truly rebounded, and with gusto, and that speaks volumes of the industry’s concentrated focus to get back to where they were (or better!) and their collective efforts to prove that we were very well prepared for the bounce-back of travel through maintaining a close watch on global trends and visitor travel expectations”.

In terms of a forecast for the tourism industry in the months ahead, Ms Lockington said Fiji’s tourism hotspots all reported high booking figures all the way through to the end of the year which meant that more and more visitors would touch down in Nadi for the remaining three months of the year.

This is encouraging for many Fijians.

It will positively impact employment opportunities, small businesses connected to the industry and other associated industries linked to it.

The revelation that bookings are positive over the next few months is encouraging.

Our challenge now is to maintain the status quo. In saying that, we are also reminded about issues that popped up at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially following the second wave in April last year.

We are reminded about the fact that thousands of people lost their jobs, especially in the tourism industry and some associated industries.

We reflect on the risks and should make a commitment to ensure we have processes in place, and we are adhering to good health advice, to ensure our guests and every Fijian is well and safe.

The key, obviously, is following safe travel guidelines, and COVID-19 safety rules.

Then there is the bit about being vigilant always, and diversifying our economic base.

More Stories