NEWS

Vendors Await Cruise Ships Arrival To Make Every Cent Count

The $360 cash for unemployment assistance made their living easier.
30 Jun 2022 10:00
Vendors Await Cruise Ships Arrival To Make Every Cent Count
Cruise liners are expected back in Fiji from July, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Every dollar is important for the country in terms of foreign currency, says Mahendra Singh.

Mr Singh, who is the Suva Handicraft Market Vendors and Manufacturing Association president, is ready to welcome tourists back to the capital city.

He said close to 200 stalls inside and outside the handicraft centre will be set up to make sales during the tourists visit.

 

“I am happy to hear about the cruise ships coming in from July.”

We are fully prepared and are anxious to welcome the tourist ships after two years of pandemic,” Mr Singh said.

“During these two years we made sure that we have improved a lot of artifacts which have also given an uplift to our stalls.”

Suva Handicraft Centre vendor, Jitendra Lal at the Suva Handicraft Centre. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Suva Handicraft Centre vendor, Jitendra Lal at the Suva Handicraft Centre. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown wasn’t an easy time and he is thankful to the Government for being supportive.

He said the $360 cash for unemployment assistance made their living easier.

“I thank the Government of the day for taking care of handicrafts by providing security which relieved a fear in us,” Mr Singh said.

“The subsidy loan of up to $5000 and the year-long fee waiver was helpful because most of us hardly made an income, as things were not the same.”

 

“Because of restricted movement, the cash assistance given twice helped vendors to do basic shopping.”

“For a small country like Fiji, the Government was very supportive towards its people when they needed it the most,” he said.

Vendors at the Suva Handicraft Centre in Suva are fully vaccinated and follow COVID-19 protocols for a safe business.

Stall owner, Jitendra Lal, has been a vendor for more than 35 years.

 

The 48-year-old said his sales dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic and with the cruise liners coming through, gives him hope to recover.

The wholesale and retail of the handicrafts is his only source of income.

“Things are better now and the tourist ships arrival is good news.

Our expectations are high and we are looking forward to that day to see the tourists coming in,” he said.

 

Background

The cruise ships sector is expected to generate an estimated $20million in revenue for Fiji over the next six months.

The Fiji Ports Corporation Limited (FPCL) Chief Executive Officer Vajira Piyasena said with the Government and port stakeholders support, FPCL is ready to welcome cruise vessels back to Fiji.

Mr Piyasena said only two vessels can be allowed at one time at the Suva Port.

The cruise vessels were banned from March 16, 2020 and will resume entry from next month (July).

 

Feedback: nolishma.narayan@fijisun.com.fj



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