25 Sep 2007

Fiji tourism body seeks funds to counter drop in visitor numbers

3:27 pm on 25 September 2007

The Fiji Visitors Bureau says it needs at least 12-million US dollars in its 2008 budget to help boost visitor arrivals.

Fiji's critical tourism industry has not been able to recover more than nine months after it was crippled by travel advisories issued after the December military takeover.

Surveys by the Bureau of Statistics show a collective decrease in visitor arrivals of about 40 percent over the previous year.

Only the months of June and July showed a slight increase because of a promotional campaign.

The Fiji Visitor Bureau's Patrick Wong says his organisation is operating in survival mode and needs funds.

"To move into recovery mode, we would need the funds, at the moment with the lean funds we have only been able to do technical marketing and there has been no branding Fiji as a destination, so it is impacting on our technical marketing too, so yes, the funding is very important."

Patrick Wong says the Reserve Bank has forecast growth by two percent in 2008, but that's dependent on the recovery of the tourism and sugar industries.