Editorial comment | Promising tourism scenario

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

It is good to know that the tourism sector continues to go from strength to strength with the visitor arrivals tracking just above the 2019 pace.

And that’s 12 months ahead of schedule, says Tourism Fiji chief executive Brent Hill.

This, he said, had led the Reserve Bank of Fiji to upgrade their growth targets for Fiji to 18.6 per cent for 2022 and now forecasting the economy to grow by 8 per cent in 2023.

The by-product of these strong tourism numbers, he said, was increased interest in investment with a strong pipeline of projects, upgrades, sales and partnerships underway.

This was great for the construction industry and retention of skilled labour in Fiji.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji, had in a recent release, stated visitor arrivals had increased steadily since the re-opening of borders on track to returning to pre-pandemic levels.

In the first four months of 2023, it said, visitor arrivals totalled 252,245, slightly higher than the arrivals recorded in the same period in 2019.

This outcome, it said, was driven mainly by higher arrivals from our traditional source markets of Australia, New Zealand and North America contributing 82.5 per cent to total visitor arrivals.

Provisional visitor numbers released by the Fiji Bureau of Statistics show that 76,961 visitors arrived in the country in April — an increase of 27.1 per cent compared with March this year, which recorded 60,548 arrivals.

When we look at figures from 2022 and 2021, visitor arrivals for April stood at 46,680 and 813 respectively.

We learn that countries accounting for 91.3 per cent of the total visitor arrivals for April included Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Europe, China and Great Britain.

Again we say, any efforts to boost visitor arrivals, or any increase in numbers will be welcomed by stakeholders.

It’s good for business, for the industry, and for the nation.

It means a boost in employment opportunities and business for industries connected to tourism.

When we reflect on the years at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we should be motivated to do all we can to maintain the status quo and continue the good work that is churning out these numbers.

Just the other day we reported how tourism operators had expressed delight at the reassurance by Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism Minister Viliame Gavoka that there would be no drastic changes in the upcoming budget to disrupt tourism recovery.

The industry, we learnt, was set to exceed tax revenue receipts budgeted by government for this fiscal year.

There is optimism looking to the future.

As we have already said before, every Fijian should work for the betterment of an industry that provides thousands of jobs and boosts the economy.

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