4 Sep 2006

Qoliqoli bill could force some hotels to shut down - hotelier

7:53 pm on 4 September 2006

The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association has warned that some hotels could be forced to shut down the day the government's proposed Qoliqoli or Foreshore Bill comes into force.

Radio Legend reports that a delegation of 25 members from the Association led by its chairman, Dick Smith, and president, Senator Dixon Seeto, have made this submission to the parliamentary committee scrutinizing the Bill.

Mr Smith says hotel owners will hesitate to continue operations if the Bill is passed in its current form.

He says of the Bill comes into force at midnight, it would be impossible to get agreement between all the parties involved immediately to enable hotels to open their doors in the morning.

Mr Smith says there are serious penalties for breaking the law including jail terms and hotels would be forced to close.

He is calling for a grace period of about a year

Mr Smith says unless changes are made, the Bill will be commercial suicide.

He says the Bill could also cause serious damage to Fiji's image as a tourism destination as it would enable individuals to try and stake their claims on the foreshore and upset hotel operations and visitors.