Fiji will have a $3 billion dollar tourism economy by this December, ahead of the anticipated time of the end of next year.
This has been confirmed by Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill during a seminar at the Reserve Bank of Fiji where he says the average visitor spend rose to $3,572 so when that is combined with visitor range at the moment, the tourism price output is at $2.1 billion and if this continues on the current rate, it is on track for $3.2 billion.
Hill says pre-COVID, direct and indirect employment in tourism was at about 180,000 but he has seen some figures and it is just under 400,000 in terms of employed people within Fiji.
He says our visitor arrivals are on track for around 903,000 and occupancy is somewhere between 80 to 90 percent range.
The CEO says in 2019, revenue per available room was $390 on average and in July this year, it was $601 which is a 58 percent increase from 2019 and 36 percent increase from 2022.
Hill says visitor satisfaction rate is at 93 percent and even though there is an increasing cost, people are still satisfied with their trip to Fiji.
He says prices of things have gone up around the world and relative to that, it has gone up in Fiji as well but the satisfaction rate is still high.
The CEO says there is an increase in 9 percent in the number of people who are travelling for holiday purposes.
As there is a shortage of about 4,000 rooms, Hill says they are going to address this issue from next year where Crowne Plaza will add 324 rooms by about January next year, 246 rooms at the Westin Resort, 90 rooms at Wyndham, 17 rooms at Waya Island Resort and 47 more rooms in Nadi that has just come on stream.
He says they will get 724 more rooms by next year that will get an occupancy rate of about 85 to 90 percent which potentially adds another 45,000 to 50,000 tourists staying in those rooms and about 1 million tourists staying in total.
Hill says if they spend an average of $3,572 then we get a $3.5 billion industry.
He adds they keep hearing a lot of comments around price in Fiji but the price so far is not negatively affecting the experience or the bookings.
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