Hill says that while this has been welcome it is important that more niche and small operators are helped to become international trade ready and commissionable.
‘We’re supporting and encouraging existing, new and diversified products to provide high quality, meaningful experiences.’
At the same time Hill is encouraging New Zealand travel trade to look beyond the obvious and start recommending lesser known Fiji experiences to clients.
‘For example we recently took a trade group up to Paradise Cove in the Yasawa – none of them had been there before. This kind of property provides plenty of opportunities.
‘The bigger operators (Marriott, Sheraton, Hilton etc) are doing incredibly well but they are getting full quickly. We’re encouraging the trade to look for those gems the next tier down.’
Hill presented the corporate strategic plan for Tourism Fiji to kick off the business sessions at Fijian Tourism Expo 2022, which is continuing today.
He says the ‘big figure’ is the figure to generate F$3.37 billion revenue through tourism by 2024 and close to one million visitors (300,000 to 350,000 in 2022, around 674,000 in 2023). That would represent a small amount of growth on 2019.
Hill had a number of caveats around those targets, which would see the destination get back around 2019 figures.
‘International travel has to normalise and more markets open. At the moment we are really dealing with three markets – Australia, USA and now New Zealand.’
Having increased accommodation inventory, planning for and limiting the impact of future climate related extreme events, and a general economic recovery are other important factors.