22 Jul 2004

Fiji travel agents chide US visa rules

11:51 am on 22 July 2004

Travel agents in Fiji say tighter US visa rules are forcing Pacific Island travellers to spend thousands of dollars re-routing their flights to avoid US transit stops.

Hammond Kumar of Macquarie travel in Suva says he's telling Pacific Islanders not to bother applying for US transit visas because they'll be wasting their money.

He says Pacific travellers wishing to visit relatives in Canada are spending three to four thousand dollars extra rerouting through Japan and Korea because they can't even get transit visas through Honolulu.

"People still have their strong ties in Fiji and they still don't qualify for visas. Most of the people who apply for visas, I just tell them don't apply for American visas because you are wasting your money."

Hammond Kumar says the tighter rules have been in force for the past few months.