Recovery sooner than expected – Koya

Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya during break between sessions at the Parliament sitting in Suva on Friday, February 11, 2022. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Reports from all the tourism operators are that the corporate group travel has recovered sooner than expected, Minister for Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya told Parliament last week.

He said Fiji has back-to-back corporate groups from Australia and hundreds were arriving for five to six-day itineraries and during their stay they were actually engaging in local tour attractions and operators including local villagers, handicraft, restaurants, hire of local serenaders and cover bands.

Mr Koya said the spread of the tourism benefits was for real in real dollar terms.

He said an Australian corporate group that was visiting a village in Sigatoka Valley would be donating a substantial amount towards the village church.

“Almost $5000 and that has been organised by one of our local tour operators so that is what we mean by spreading the benefits of tourism as a result of the safe reopening of our borders,” he said.

“The fact that these corporations are actually bringing their employees and suppliers in large numbers to Fiji, Mr Speaker, is a testament to their faith and confidence in Fiji being a safe destination and these endorsements are actually priceless and these are the endorsements that will continue to propel our industry towards a gradual recovery, however, we must again remain alert and be cautious to ensure that our safe protocols are adhered to at all times.”

Mr Koya said in terms of impact in numbers, international travel has definitely become hassle free, easier and unrestrictive which could be seen in our tourism numbers.

He also highlighted in Parliament that for the first quarter of 2022, Fiji had a total of 48,906 international visitors compared to just over 4,223 in the same quarter last year.

“If we look at numbers since our December border reopening in 2021, Fiji has actually welcomed over 72,132 visitors.”

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