50% of about 120,000 Fijians in the tourism sector have gone back to work as hotels and resorts are reopening

50% of about 120,000 Fijians in the tourism sector have gone back to work as hotels and resorts are reopening

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 02/02/2022

The latest Westpac Wave edition on Fiji’s Economic Update says there is now indication that around 50 percent of Fijians in the tourism sector have gone back to work as hotels and resorts are reopening.

Westpac says approximately 120,000 Fijians directly employed by the tourism sector had lost their jobs when the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country and persisted with prolonged border closures.

It says along with improving domestic conditions on the back of international border reopening, Fiji’s labour market, which was materially affected by the pandemic, is showing signs of recovery.

This is expected to gradually increase in the coming months as momentum of recovery picks up.

It says the RBF Job Advertisements Survey also shows signs of recovery, evident by the monthly increase in the number of vacancies advertised since July last year.

The latest RBF economic review says the number of jobs advertised declined by 30.6 percent in 2021, however, rose by 7.6 percent in the month of December. It says demand for labour has started to increase supported by the easing of mobility restrictions, the re-opening of international borders and the improvement in aggregate demand.

Westpac also says the labour market in Fiji in the meantime has been supported by the August and November payout of the Government’s unemployment assistance and the continued influx of personal remittances.

It says the Fiji National Provident Fund, through its COVID-19 withdrawal scheme, also continues to provide consumption support for many households.

Westpac Wave reports that the Government has so far paid out a total of around $430 million in direct income support to affected Fijians since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, of which around $86 million was paid to over 238,000 Fijians as part of the second round of the Government's $360 unemployment assistance.

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