Link between tourism and agriculture in Fiji

FIJI has very comprehensive strategies in place for the sugar industry but this is not replicated across the non sugar agricultural areas, says chief executive officer for the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association, Fantasha Lockington.

Speaking at a workshop yesterday on the linkages between agriculture, trade and tourism, Ms Lockington said there were many agri-tourism opportunities that existed to help both industries but this was not capitalised upon.

“We’re recognising that there needs to be a national facilitator to be tasked with linking both the tourism and the agricultural sector,” said Ms Lockington.

“We need to be more inclusive of communities and the rural areas and engage with tourism activities.

“People are interested when they come to Fiji to get an experience rather then the traditional reasons of leisure.

“If you link this interest people have and get them to visit farms that have animals — the interest in using local produce in local cooking classes that they can have at the hotels or nearby facilities.

“Maybe looking at the history of the sugar mills as a museum or background historical tourism homestays on farms.

“Tours of food production areas like the Sigatoka Valley.

“These are all areas that we can capitalise or look for opportunities because its there but we don’t have strategies in place to make use of it.

“The hotels will pay more to bring food from overseas or to get it from a supplier who is more consistent in terms of how efficient he is in dropping off his produce and delivery is on time.

“And making sure his quality is the best quality that he can provide.

“Its quality and consistency of delivery that hotels are looking for,” Ms Lockington said.

The workshop attended by policymakers and stakeholders in agriculture and tourism was aimed at strengthening the local agrifood sector and promoting healthy food in agritourism.

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