7 Jun 2007

Fiji hoteliers still struggling to regain pre-coup momentum

2:12 pm on 7 June 2007

Fiji's hotel and tourism association says the tourism industry is still struggling to regain the momentum it had last year and many hotels remain empty.

New Zealand downgraded its travel advisory from high to some risk last month, while Australia has followed suit this week, putting Fiji at the same risk level as Britain, Germany and Tonga.

The association's president, Dixon Seeto, has welcomed the new travel advisories, but says he is not sure if it will have a big effect.

"New Zealand has been one of our stronger markets. That market has been quite good. I haven't had any report whether it had a dramatic effect. But there is a slight increase in the numbers, because we are now in our peak season. Normally by this stage Fiji is full. But at this point in time, you can ring up any hotel in Fiji and there will be an abundance of space."

Dixon Seeto says strong competition from other Pacific countries and less money for marketing are also to blame for the decline in visitor numbers.