2023-2024 National Budget | Tourism operators express delight

Rosie Travel Group and Ahura Resorts managing director Tony Whitton. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Tourism operators have expressed delight at the reassurance by Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism Minister Viliame Gavoka that there will be no drastic changes in the upcoming budget to disrupt tourism recovery.

Industry icon Tony Whitton said the news was reassuring for a sector that had just bounced back from the pandemic and was doing quite well to assist in the growth of the local economy.

“But be assured that our industry this year will exceed tax revenue receipts budgeted by government for this fiscal year,” he said.

“For international visitors there are four components to a Fiji holiday: the airfare, the hotel room rate, the cost of food and beverage, and finally the cost of tours and excursions.

“At the present time with the exchange rate, Fiji is in a sweet spot and research backs this up.

“Tourism Fiji as part of their Twenty 31 survey in our two major markets of Australia and New Zealand that account for 65 per cent of visitors, has shown positive and impressive increase.”

Mr Whitton explained that Australia had seen a 3 per cent jump in positivity impressions and New Zealand 2.3 per cent.

He said the latest data was very significant and pointed to overall experience satisfaction of tourists when they visited Fiji.

However, he warned there were storm clouds looming in key markets with some commentators forecasting possible recessions.

“We have a lot of good news to share with all tourism jobs restored and in fact we are currently experiencing many vacancies and shortages.

“The tourism arrivals forecasted for this year will eclipse the 2019 record.

“This year, tourism will inject over $2 billion into the Fijian economy, with a three times multiplier meaning more jobs, more small businesses being created and the tourism dollar circulating to more and more people in the economy.”

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