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Bula boom: Fiji welcomed 62,000 visitors in June

Fiji’s June 2022 visitor arrivals bounced back to 75 per cent of pre-COVID levels in 2019 and achieved a 30 per cent increase on May 2022 tourist numbers, pointing to a strong tourism recovery and an economic boost for the Pacific island nation.

Fiji’s June 2022 visitor arrivals bounced back to 75 per cent of pre-COVID levels in 2019 and achieved a 30 per cent increase on May 2022 tourist numbers, pointing to a strong tourism recovery and an economic boost for the Pacific island nation.

Before the pandemic, tourism in Fiji represented 38 per cent of the economy and 36.5 per cent of all employment, totalling 118,000 jobs nationally.

The Fijian visitor economy was worth FJ$3 billion in 2019 with around 960,000 international arrivals.

From January to June 2022, Fiji visitors totalled 205,529, showing a 50 per cent recovery from the same period in 2019.

Fiji
Snorkelling. Image: Tourism Fiji

The numbers were buoyed by Aussie travellers, who represented 97 per cent of inbound visitors, while other key markets of Canada (80%), the US (78%) and New Zealand (60%) also contributed to the arrival revival in Fiji tourism.

Aussie visitors to Fiji are at their highest numbers since the borders reopened in December 2021.

Tourism fuelling the Fiji economy

Fiji
Fijian warrior dance. Image: Tourism Fiji

Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Koya said the strong performance of the Fijian tourism industry is directly fuelling the Fijian economy’s recovery, which is now expected to grow by 12.4 per cent this year.

“A few months ago, our concern was filling in airline seats and rooms – now, we’re essentially working on near full capacity, which is fantastic,” Mr Koya said.

“We’re now expecting visitor arrivals to reach 55 per cent of 2019 levels with full recovery by 2024.”

He added that Fiji Airways has also reported that bookings have increased by 9.3 per cent from June to November 2022 compared to the same period in 2019.

Fiji facing forward

Brent Hill, Tourism Fiji CEO
Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill

At the Fijian Tourism Exchange (FTE) trade event in May 2022, Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill shared their two-year plan with the vision of ‘Inspiring the world to come and experience Fiji, where happiness finds you.’

Tourism Fiji’s goal is to rebuild the visitor economy to FJ$3.37 billion and attract one million international visitors by 2024.

Mr Hill told KarryOn that the 333-island nation has surprised people with its success since reopening, which he attributed to the Fijian Government’s handling of the pandemic and collaborative support across Fiji’s aviation, tourism and hospitality industries.

Sustainability was also a major focus of FTE’s entire agenda and delivered as a critical ingredient that will form the foundation of Tourism Fiji’s strategic plan.

“More people need to see Fiji and experience the range of products with their own eyes now that the resorts are looking great again with so many renovated,” Mr Hill said.

“From our perspective, we want people to see and understand that Fiji is back, and we’re booming.”

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