Hotel bookings are strong but there is a widening skills gap in the tourism industry – Lockington

Hotel bookings are strong but there is a widening skills gap in the tourism industry – Lockington

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 21/07/2022
Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association CEO Fantasha Lockington

Hotel bookings are looking strong right until October this year but the hotel, restaurant and tourism industry is seeing a widening skills gap as workers are being recruited by overseas agencies.

Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association CEO Fantasha Lockington highlighted this during the post-budget panel discussion at the Reserve Bank of Fiji last night.

Lockington says two years is a long time to go with either low wages or no wages so many of the staff have also changed industries, started their own businesses or returned to farming.

For those that have gone overseas, she says they will definitely boost remittances by sending money back to families here.

Lockington says over 47,000 visitors arrived into the country in June and the expectation is that arrivals will surpass levels in July.

She says they have not returned to full seat capacity that they were enjoying this time in July of 2019 so they are counting on the national airline to keep increasing its seat capacity.

Lockington adds the tourism industry employs 118,000 people.

The CEO says Fiji has around 421 licensed hotels and they sell around 13,000 rooms where a little over 60% of hotels with 40 rooms and above are actually locally owned.

She adds a lot of that money is staying here in Fiji.

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