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Fiji Sun


Struggles on Taveuni

April 09
11:52 2013

Taveuni Ocean Sports at Nakia Resort & Dive offers recreational scuba diving and training in Fiji. Taveuni is a popular dive destination.Photo: TAVEUN OCEAN SPORTS


Whilst most parts of the country seems to be benefitting from our booming tourism industry, the same cannot be said for the garden island of Taveuni.
An agent for home rentals and small hotels, Anne Osbourne, has raised concerns over the decreasing number of visitors to this tourist destination.
As a result, she said the people of Taveuni, and especially the children, are struggling.
“There are approximately 500 beds to be filled daily between high-end, average and low accommodations,” she said.
“This means around 40 per cent of the population of Taveuni are employed by hoteliers.
But many are now not working because their employers are suffering low occupancy.
“Because of the downturn in business, parents aren’t able to afford their children’s daily living necessities, educations, clothes etc.”

Air services blamed
Ms Osbourne said one of the reasons for this was since the demise of Air Fiji, Pacific Sun had been the sole provider of flights to Taveuni.
She said partially to be blamed was very high airfares, unavailability of seats, small planes etc.
“Pacific Sun has manipulated the market because there is non-existence of competition,” she said.
Pacific Sun general manager, Shaenaz Voss, said the pricing structure for Taveuni flights was such because simple economies of scale were applied.
“Our 18-seater Twin Otter aircraft is used on flights to Taveuni, as the airfield is restricted to smaller aircraft operations only,” she said.
“The Twin-Otter flights are weight-restricted, depending on the number of passengers and luggage that is on a particular flight.
“We’re are comfortable with the number of seats to Taveuni right now, as there are flight options to Taveuni also available via Nadi.
“Frequencies also increase during peak periods.”

New entrant in
domestic market
Now hopes are high as Inter Island Airways (Fiji) Limited is expected to start off operation in June/July.
“We have been informed through various mediums that there another airline that was to have started operation last June,” Ms Osbourne said.
“We have been reliably informed that all relevant approvals have been granted to this new airline however we are wondering what is the hold up and who are the people stopping the new airline from operating.”

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