12 Dec 2006

Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry says business confidence is returning slowly

11:35 am on 12 December 2006

The Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry says business confidence is returning slowly, a week after the latest military coup.

The chamber president, Taito Waradi, has told the Fiji Times business is slowly picking up not only in the capital but also other parts of the country.

Mr Waradi says compared with the impact of the 1987 and 2000 coups, the effect of the current upheaval on the economy has been relatively mild.

But the impact of travel advisories on tourism has been severe.

Reduced visitor numbers mean hotels have laid off hundreds of casual staff while permanent staff are working reduced hours.

The Tourism Action Group formed after the May 2000 coup to rebuild confidence in Fiji has been re-activated.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Retailers Association says people are feeling secure and moving about freely.

Its president, Himmat Lodhia, says he hopes the right message is conveyed to countries which have placed travel restrictions to lift their warnings as there is nothing to fear in Fiji.