Potential to grow the ‘conference and events’ tourism market in Fiji, says ADB

Tourists from the , P&O Pacific Aria join in the celebration at the Colo-i-Suva Village. Picture: JONA KONATACI/FILE

WHILE Fiji has the most established and profitable tourism industry in the Pacific region, a number of actions must be taken to ensure the sector’s growth does not stagnate.

A new brief from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns that continued tourism sector growth is not inevitable, and ensuring its sustainability will require government action.

The brief – Tourism as a Driver of Growth in the Pacific: A Pathway to Growth and Prosperity for Pacific Island Countries, – makes a number of recommendations to ensure the sector’s growth does not stagnate.

They recommend countries – in this case Fiji – to create an enabling environment to facilitate tourism growth and maximise its benefits.

This means investing in infrastructure, human resources, and product development and marketing, as well as ensuring that tourism policy, strategy, and the regulatory environment are designed to grow the sector sustainably.

The Fijian Government has been actively focussed on capital investments and developments such as the Nadi International Airport and the Nadi four-lane road project to name a few.

It also suggests Fiji’s tourism sector could benefit from investments in key national infrastructure, such as improving the country’s water supply and sewage treatment facilities.

It recommends the creation of a strategic plan that would draw on the existing range of major resorts to grow the ‘meetings, incentives, conferences, and events’ market.

The brief also recommends developing the waterfront in Suva’s port area to make it more appealing and better suited to the needs of cruise ship visitors.

Finally, it reiterates a proposal for consideration from an earlier World Bank report, saying Fiji has the potential to become a regional cruise ship base.

The brief identifies tourism as a unique opportunity for economic growth in the coming decade that could help Pacific island countries self-sufficiently fund national objectives, such as improved health services, education and transport.

Along with generating employment and income growth across the region, tourism development can serve as a catalyst for the protection and preservation of natural and cultural assets, the brief notes.

The brief was produced by ADB’s Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI), a regional technical assistance program undertaken in partnership with the governments of Australia and New Zealand.

PSDI works with ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth.

It has operated in the region for 11 years and assisted with more than 300 reforms.

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