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Record Visitor Arrivals noted for 2017

Record Visitor Arrivals noted for 2017
Shoran Devi
February 10
11:00 2018

Tourism is Fiji’s largest indus­try and is one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy.

Over the last two decades, tourism sector has played an integral role in driving economic growth in the Pa­cific Island Countries, most notably in Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu and Cook Islands.

Fiji in particular, is impressively commended for the immaculate service delivery and the everlasting “BULA Smiles” and the continuous growth trends noted in our tourism sector is a testimony of our strong tourism brand.

In the latest provisional numbers released by the Fiji Bureau of Sta­tistics, Fiji’s annual Visitor Arrival number reached a new high of 842,884 in 2017.

This was 6.4 per cent more than the previous record of 792,320 which was set in 2016.

Monthly visitor numbers topped the 90,000 mark for the first time ever in July with 90,108 arrivals.

Contributing to the record level of visitor arrivals in 2017 were in­creases from the following coun­tries;

  • New Zealand from 20,759 to 184,595
  • the United States of America from 11,570 to 81,198
  • Australia from 5,319 to 365,689
  • Rest of Asia from 4,393 to 24,951
  • Pacific Islands from 3,979 to 53,720
  • Continental Europe from 2,722 to 34,368
  • South Korea from 800 to 8,871
  • Canada from 641 to 12,421
  • Other Countries from 379 to 4,730
  • United Kingdom from 213 to 16,925
  • Japan from 76 to 6,350

 

The 2017 visitor numbers from New Zealand (184,595) and USA (81,198) were the highest ever in a given year.

Visitor numbers from Fiji’s top two source markets, Australia (365,689) and New Zealand (184,595) equate to average daily arrivals of 1002 and 506 respectively.

Looking at the purpose of visits, visitors arriving for holiday pur­poses totalled 630,700 (74.8 per cent), 74,492 (8.8 per cent) came to visit friends or relatives, 33,222 (3.9 per cent) came for business purposes while 104,470 (12.5 per cent) visited Fiji for other reasons.

There were significant increases in the number of visitors arriving for the following purposes;

  1. Visiting Friends and Rela­tives increased by 6,230 to 74,492
  2. Holiday was up by 29,813 to 630,700

 

The July visitor arrival number of 90,108 was the highest in 2017, followed by the months of August and October with arrival figures of 82,316 and 78,164 respectively.

The peak arrival months by coun­try and number were as follows;

  • Australia – December with 36,786 visitors
  • New Zealand – July with 26,448 visitors
  • United States of America – July with 9,525 visitors
  • China – January with 5,908 visitors
  • United Kingdom – July with 1,961 visitors
  • Canada – July with 1,319 visi­tors

 

Looking at the visitor arrival sta­tistic for the month of December, when comparing the age range of visitors, the majority of visitors to Fiji in December 2017 were in the age range 25-64 (62.8 per cent), which accounts for the vast major­ity of the working age population.

Children aged 14 and below ac­counted for 17.2 per cent of the December visitor arrivals; 13.9 per cent were youths aged 15-24 with the remaining 6.1 per cent compris­ing those in the predominantly re­tirement age group of 65 and over.

When comparing the occupation of visitors in December, the top 5 Occupational Groups for visitors engaged in gainful employment in their home countries were as fol­lows;

  • Professional Workers – 15,433
  • Legislators – 9,951
  • Technician and Related Work­ers – 7,470
  • Service Workers – 5,542
  • Craft and Related Workers – 3,664

 

Visitors who were not in the la­bour force were categorised into two major groups. The categories and numbers are as follows;

  • Students – 18,263
  • Retirees, Housewives, Chil­dren and Others – 12,456

 

In the year 2017, we had the privi­lege to host some of the eminent personalities from various frater­nities such as sporting stars, silver screen actors and television per­sonalities.

These opportunities enable us to showcase our beautiful island na­tion but more importantly helps improve our economic growth.

According to the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), the tourism sector is the largest sector in the world in terms of income genera­tion and employment creation.

For Fiji, Tourism industry’s com­bined direct and indirect contribu­tions to GDP averages above 30.0 percent and the industry provides direct and indirect employment to an estimated 45,000 people.

Tourism industry has become Fiji’s largest source of foreign ex­change earnings.

It provides vital support to our Balance of Payment and is reflected in the level of foreign reserves we hold. Fiji’s earnings from tourism stood at $530.7 million for the Sep­tember quarter of 2017, an increase of 27.5 per cent when compared to the same period of the prior year.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji forecast­ed that Tourism earnings for 2017 is expected to come at around $1.7 bil­lion and arrivals to rise by approxi­mately five per cent for 2018.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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