13 Jul 2007

Fiji considers change to visa rules for Chinese

2:25 pm on 13 July 2007

Moves are under way in Fiji to exempt Chinese citizens from having to have a visa before visiting Fiji.

The Daily Post reports that this has been confirmed by the director of immigration, Commander Viliame Naipoto.

He says China could soon join the list of countries whose nationals are exempt from visa requirements such as Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and India.

Commander Naipoto says there may be a need to tighten border control measures once the list of countries on the visa exemption list increases.

The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association has welcomed the move, saying it would provide a welcome boost to the tourist industry.

Fiji's ambassador designate to China, Sir James Ah Koy, has been pushing for the visa free status.

Sir James says over 30-million Chinese tourists with large disposable incomes travel abroad every year.

He says if only 2 percent of them can be persuaded to visit Fiji, that would exceed the current total number of visitors to Fiji every year.