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Nadi Chamber Urges More Tourism Marketing Budget Allocation

  The Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has requested Government to increase budget for the tourism sector to boost marketing strategies for the industry. Chamber President, Dr Ram Raju,
14 Jun 2016 11:31
Nadi Chamber Urges More Tourism Marketing Budget Allocation

 

The Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has requested Government to increase budget for the tourism sector to boost marketing strategies for the industry.

Chamber President, Dr Ram Raju, said this was based on the fact that tourism has become the backbone of our economy.

“Direct flights to Singapore will obviously open up more opportunities for tourism and trade that is eagerly awaited,” he said.

“New route to San Francisco (twice weekly) that was long overdue will likewise boost the economic growth.”

Dr Raju said we now need to tap into cruise ships as well as many are opting to go elsewhere in the Pacific.

 

Taxes

The chamber has also called upon Government to review the total amount of taxes paid by tourists which amounts to 25 per cent and address this issue.

“We are competing with many other South Pacific Island countries who seem to be winning many potential visitors that could have chosen Fiji but the high taxes bites their pockets,” Dr Raju said.

“Also, Airport Departure Tax appears too high and that needs to be reviewed as well.”

While the chamber appreciated and welcomed the move by Government to reduce VAT from 15 per cent to nine per cent, it said a further reduction would be welcome.

 

Downtown Duty Free

As for the Downtown Duty Free concept, Dr Raju said they are pleased to see this implemented and were sure tourists will take time out to shop in town and other areas.

But, he said Nadi Town should also be declared ‘Special Tourism Zone’ and all the business houses are in total support.

“The town is the most active area that is well policed and protected but the activities tend to die out by 10 or 11pm,” he said.

“Tourists and locals alike are denied the privilege of entertainment and other business activities and we feel this is discriminatory.”

 

Health

The chamber has suggested Lautoka and Labasa Hospital should be considered as university hospitals in the near future.

Dr Raju said there’s scope to turn these two into super hospitals to kick start medical tourism.

In addition, he said Nadi Hospital needs to be upgraded to international standards and staffed by well qualified senior doctors and specialists.

“It can also be semi-privatised. This will help provide world class medical care to tourists and locals alike,” he said.

 

Health Insurance Schemecheme

Dr Raju emphasised very little efforts are being made to introduce a National Health Insurance Scheme in Fiji.

“Only about 10 per cent of Fiji’s population have some form of private health insurance scheme which have operated very successfully over the past 25 yrs or so that started,” he said.

“Cabinet can easily empower all the employers to make private health insurance compulsory for every permanent employee.

“This will cover more than 50 per cent of our population and the others can be covered under social security insurance (those below the poverty line).

“Our life expectancy otherwise will never get better. NCD’s have to be prevented with bold measures and not by opening new health centres. Primary Health Care has to be diverted to the general practitioners.”

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 

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