NEWS

The Asian Development Bank And Fijian Government Sign $6M Grant To Prepare For Tourism Upswing

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Fijian Government signed a FJD$6.5million grant that will support Fiji’s COVID-19 preparedness for an anticipated increase in the arrival of tourists. The grant is financed by the Japanese Government’s Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific.
25 May 2022 01:00
The Asian Development Bank And Fijian Government Sign $6M Grant To Prepare For Tourism Upswing
From left: Asian Development Bank regional director for the Pacific Subregional Office in Fiji Aaron Batten, the Japanese Ambassador to Fiji Kawakami Fumihiro, the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji Airways CEO Andre Viljoen and Airports Fiji Limited CEO Isei Tudreu following the signing of the grant agreement at the Fiji Airways Aviation Academy in Nadi on May 23, 2022. Photo: DEPTFO News

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Fijian Government signed a FJD$6.5million grant that will support Fiji’s COVID-19 preparedness for an anticipated increase in the arrival of tourists.

The grant is financed by the Japanese Government’s Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific.

The signing of the grant agreement was between the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, ADB’s Regional Director for the Pacific Sub-regional Office in Fiji, Aaron Batten while Fiji Airways Chief Executive Officer, Andre Viljoen and Fiji Airports Chief Executive Officer, Isei Tudreu signed the project agreement with Mr Batten.

 

The signing took place at the Fiji Airways Aviation Academy in Nadi on Monday.

The Fiji Enhancing COVID-19 Preparedness for Tourism Recovery Project is being supported by an in-kind contribution of $27,000 from the Fijian Government.

 

In his opening remarks, the Japanese Ambassador to Fiji, Kawakami Fumihiro said the project aimed to support Fiji’s tourism industry which was Fiji’s core industry by strengthening the COVID-19 responsiveness of airports.

Mr Fumihiro said this was the Japanese Government’s second assistance provided to Fiji following the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“This project is aimed at improving COVID-19 measures at Nadi International Airport and at expanding Fiji’s COVID-19 inspection capacities through the construction of inspection facilities as well as procurement of RAT-PCR (rapid antigen test-polymerase chain reaction) inspection machines, related lab equipment and consumables.”

 

Some travellers who arrived from Australia at Nadi International Airport, on January 23, 2022. File Photo: Mereleki Nai

Some travellers who arrived from Australia at Nadi International Airport, on January 23, 2022. File Photo: Mereleki Nai

“I am sure that based on the merit guaranteed by this project, tourists and visitors to Fiji will find their arrival and due processes at Nadi
Airport much more convenient and efficient.”

“Since the reopening of the borders in December last year, tourist arrivals in Fiji are better than expected.”

He assured Japan’s continuous support for Fiji.

 

In his address, Mr Batten said the project would build on other written ADB support for Fiji’s tourism recovery, including private sector support for Fiji Airways and technical assistance for tourism Fiji and Airports Fiji Limited to better plan for reopening and handling emerging health risks.

He said the project was expected to benefit around 90,000 Fijians.

 

Tourists from Australia arrive in Nadi on April 5, 2022. File Photo: Mereleki Nai

Tourists from Australia arrive in Nadi on April 5, 2022. File Photo: Mereleki Nai

“Fiji’s capacity for COVID-19 testing in Nadi will be expanded through the use of new PCR test machines and construction of a testing facility,” said Mr Batten.

“We expect that this project will benefit almost 90,000 Fijians who are employed either directly or indirectly by Fiji’s tourism industry and help to support the recovery of Fiji’s job creation which should be particularly beneficial for women and other low income groups across the country.”

“I look forward to working with all Government partners and stakeholders to ensure that the project is implemented as smoothly and quickly as possible, so that Fiji’s economic recovery can continue, and more tourists can appreciate Fiji’s warm climate and hospitality in the near future.”

 

An aerial view of the Nadi International Airport Terminal Area.

An aerial view of the Nadi International Airport Terminal Area.

Confidence In The Economy
The A-G highlighted that there was still a lot of confidence in the economy.

He said the project was part and parcel of the overall Government initiative and plans in place in terms of recovery.

“We also have a policy measure on community resilience by fostering inclusive public spending, sustainable access to basic services.

 

Business resilience by providing recovery support for businesses improving the business environment,” said the A-G.

“The airport now is not only about tourism, tourism of course is a key component of our economy but in the long term strategy, of course, we want to grow the tourism numbers but we want to reduce our dependency as a percentage of our contribution to our GDP (gross domestic product).”

“The other sectors that are growing, we saw about 3000 jobs grow in the BPO (business process outsourcing) sector.”

Bula Outsourcing staff members from left: Saimoni Buadromo (Client Service Officer), Miriama Rayawa (Client Service Officer), Jemima King (Marketing Team Lead), Grant Peterson (Team Leader) and Ani Vatetei (Personal Assistant at the office based at Ganilau House in Suva on April 6, 2022. File Photo: Laisa Lui

Bula Outsourcing staff members from left: Saimoni Buadromo (Client Service Officer), Miriama Rayawa (Client Service Officer), Jemima King (Marketing Team Lead), Grant Peterson (Team Leader) and Ani Vatetei (Personal Assistant at the office based at Ganilau House in Suva on April 6, 2022. File Photo: Laisa Lui

“We believe there’s numerous opportunities Government has provided grant funding to the BPO council, we worked with the Australian counterparts in that respect Fiji is a financial and telecommunications hub, there’s a lot more travel, a lot more infrastructure requirements at the airport, if you want to be a hub you need to ensure people feel safe to travel, we have the facilities up to date in respect to being able to deal with any sort of outbreak of viruses or any other variant or indeed generally making people feel safe too when they travel to Fiji.”

 

Feedback: nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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