New Tourism Fiji chairman aims to grow niche markets
Fiji's new tourism chairperson says Fiji's tourism industry has more room to grow.
The newly-appointed Chairman of Tourism Fiji says he is confident in the momentum of Fiji's tourism industry.
Stefan Pichler, who is also the CEO of Fiji Airways, says there are many tourism projects in the pipeline, which promises more local jobs.
Tourism accounts for 38 per cent of Fiji's gross domestic product but Mr Pichler says there's room to grow more tourism products.
He told Alex Perrottet it's important to aim for as many niche markets as possible.
STEFAN PICHLER: Ecotourism, weddings, excursions, water sports, shark-feeding in the end, whatever you can do here, you just have to create tourism products and then you create clientele who are happy to pay for this experience. And I see that the growth in the Fiji economy is above average, it's above average if you compare to the rest of the South Pacific region and its above if you compare it to the broader Australasian region. So the momentum is there, now I'm pretty confident that we will keep the momentum.
AP: Then of course providing jobs where people live is important. With tourism of course there's Denarau and there are other great concentrated centres there where people can work, but just months ago there was an announcement that there might be up to three new resorts along the coast near Raki Raki. Do you know about those projects and how much effort is there to be able to provide projects like that that can give jobs both in construction and ongoing hospitality jobs in those more remote areas?
SP: Well there are a lot of development and development plans outside of Nadi and Denarau, and we see some of them maturing now. We see some of them planned and to be executed a little bit later, in the next two to three years, but there's a lot of projects in the pipeline. And if you look at the whole value chain, we have to as an airline provide additional seats and also from different source markets, the hotel industry has to build up capacity and then all the surrounding businesses have to grow in line. But of course it is an asset-driven industry in the end so you need to have the assets in terms of airline seats and assets in terms of hotel beds.
AP: In the politicking leading up the election, at the Labour Party campaign launch, Mr Chaudhry laid out their tourism plan and he was saying that since the coup Fiji's been a bit of a low-cost destination because of the devaluing of the dollar, what's your view there in terms of the effect that might have on tourism?
SP: Well look first I am not a politician, and I am not in a position to comment on any political party and I am really not the right guy. I have no idea about politics and what's going on there and I don't want to have any idea about it. Now the reality is of course that Fiji is in general a low cost environment which is pretty good because we can produce here at lower cost. In general, lower costs compared to let's say, Australia, for example. So this helps to create jobs. Now tourism has to diversify its source markets and tourism has to diversify its products and grow with diversified products and you have to basically tackle all segments of the market. But of course it's more interesting to grow in the high end of the market because then people have more spending money on the ground.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: