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Tourism Association AGM Next Month

  the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association 53rd Annual General meeting will be held at Sofitel Fiji Resort Denarau on Friday, June 8. FHTA president and board chair Dixon Seeto 
23 May 2018 10:25
Tourism Association AGM Next Month
Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association chief executive officer Fantasha Lockington

 

the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association 53rd Annual General meeting will be held at Sofitel Fiji Resort Denarau on Friday, June 8.

FHTA president and board chair Dixon Seeto  highlighted tourism is the largest industry in Fiji and employs one in three Fijians either directly or indirectly.

FHTA yesterday organised a one day media workshop for media organisations and key stakeholders.

Fantasha Lockington the FHTA chief executive officer said: “We hope by working closer with our media partners, we create communication links, networking and better information sources in an industry that covers accomodation, marine, dive, adventure/activity, transportion and supplier businesses.”

Mr Seeto highlighted that the FHTA had delivered its 2018/2019 National Budget submission that targets tourism sector priority areas of widening the Environment & Climate Adaptation Levy (ECAL) scope to include other industries.

Also the recognition of tourism industry environmental practices, recommendations on the use of ECAL funds, reduction of Service Turnover Tax  (STT) and destination affordability, hotel Incentives to be reintroduced, departure tax reduction consideration, addressing aging infrastructure and connectivity issues, review of Air Service Agreement’s for better access to existing and emerging markets and risk areas that require better Government support and intervention (hyperbaric chamber, addressing flood mitigation, upgrading met office equipment, disease control  and improved health services like the morgues at hospitals).

Mr Seeto said: “One of the areas we highlighted during our budget submission is the area of taxes and the need for Fiji to be competitive so that we maintain and retain the markets.”

 

Tourism

Tourism continues to contribute significatly to Fiji’s economy and remains the Pacific regions most economically viable sector with 1.37 million tourists mainly from Australia and New Zealand, visiting 11 Pacific Island Countries with Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Samoa and Vanuatu making up the top five destinations.

Meanwhile Fiji’s earnings from tourism in 2017 stood at FJ$1800.2m and according to the Fiji Bureau of Statistics earnings went up by 12.3 per cent ($19.7m) when compared with the 2016 figure of $1602.9m.

Mr Seeto said while confidence in the tourism sector remains buoyant and visitor numbers continue to surpass expectations, they need to sustain the momentum into the future.

However they also need to take into consideration the challenges, global uncertainties, competition from other destinations and even Fiji’s own limitations such as infrastructure, manpower resources and the rising cost of doing business.

 

FRCS sub-committee update

Mr Seeto highlighted FHTA’s  Fiji Revenue and Customs Service sub-committee members have had regular meetings with FRCS to discuss areas of members’ concern or provide clarification on the industry’s processes.

These meetings have included discussions on practice statements and tax applications post 2017 budget, STT double payments, Air BNB applicable taxes, the application of STT to other industries, etc.

Also the sub committee was able to discuss issues raised in the Association’s 2018/2019 Budget submission with FRCS to provide background on ECAL applications and recommendations for recognition of existing environmental protection programmes and fund usage, recommendations for hotel incentives to be brought back. Also raise concerns on areas that require priority focus to ensure improved support for tourism infrastructure and business growth.

Feedback:  maria.laqeta@fijisun.com.fj

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