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Fiji Tourism CEO welcomes increase in visitors

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Figures released by Fiji Tourism this week show the destination welcomed a total of 53,138 international visitors in October 2009, a 7.2 percent increase on the 49,586 achieved for the same period in

Figures released by Fiji Tourism this week show the destination welcomed a total of 53,138 international visitors in October 2009, a 7.2 percent increase on the 49,586 achieved for the same period in 2008.

The figure took total international numbers for the period January – October 2009 to 443,703, the figure bolstered by a fourth straight record breaking performance from the Australian market with more than 27,500 Aussie tourists visiting in the tenth month.

Josefa Tuamoto, CEO of Tourism Fiji, said while the January-October figure was a strong result, the numbers still represented a more than 9.4 per cent deficit on the 489,647 achieved in the record breaking 2008.

“But to be realistic in what represents one of the toughest years in Fiji’s tourism history, this is a remarkable effort when you consider that in January, February and March international numbers dropped by 27.6, 20.6 and 22.7 percent,” he said.

The 27,531 Australians visiting in October 2009 result brings Fiji’s Australian visitor tally for the year to 189,603, now just 2.3 percent down on the 194,063 figure achieved for the January – October period last year,

Mr. Tuamoto said he was confident this shortfall would be fully corrected by year’s end, his comments based on preliminary figures advised by the NTO’s airline partners for November.

All carriers on the Australia-Fiji route, he said, had registered extremely positive load factors on the sector throughout the month and into early December.

Figures ex-New Zealand also continued to rebuild with more than 8800 Kiwis visiting the destination in October.

This brings the total number of New Zealanders visiting Fiji for the 10-month period to 78,775 compared to the 88,295 visiting from January to October 2008.

The 2009 collective, while still down on the 2008 result, in effect represents a 22 per cent regrowth in overall market share since January when NZ visitor arrivals dropped by an unprecedented 32 percent .

Mr. Tuamoto said growth from other newer markets had been proved extremely positive and in particular from China where visitor arrivals jumped by 14.4 percent from 8842 to 10,114.