When countries are small and remote, there is an increased need to import. Fiji is a hub for cruises and air.
Elizabeth Powell – Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Enterprises, Tourism and Communications of Fiji spoke at the UNWTO and French Government Conference on Sustainable Development of Tourism in Islands in La Reunion yesterday.
Fiji has 8 international carriers that fly to that country, and direct flights depart to 14 countries. The national airline is a critical service in that country, as international carriers can leave them at the drop of a hat. Their own airline has a policy to protect it, so they feel open skies is not a viable option for them. There are no plans to have open skies. There are some 90,000 people on 333 islands.
The GDP is fairly small, but tourism does contribute something like 33% to the GDP. The aircraft motifs are meaningful to Fiji, which is part of the re-branding. Everyone seems united under the airline – their face to the world. It’s like a flying billboard that maximizes their marketing dollars.
Making sure that their people are taken care of is a priority. Infrastructure comes first and tourist development later. Together with UNWTO, new tourism development plans are getting underway.