SUVA, June 150 (Xinhua) -- About 99.3 million Fijian dollars (about 47.1 million U.S. dollars) has been allocated to Fiji's tourism sector in the 2018-2019 National Budget to boost the tourism industry and ensure that tourists from countries like China continue to spend money in Fiji.
Tourism Fiji alone has been provided a marketing grant of 29.78 million Fijian dollars (about 14.1 million U.S. dollars) to continue global branding initiatives in target markets like China to ensure that Fiji remains a top holiday destination for these niche markets.
Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA) president Dixon Seeto said that the tourism industry in Fiji definitely needs to develop and at the same time, provide a platform for further investment, employment and to spread its benefits throughout Fiji.
China has been the fastest growing emerging market for Fiji.
In a move to bring in more tourists from China, Tourism Fiji has recently appointed a Chinese national who has worked with travel destinations in the Unites States as its trade partnership manager.
The Journal of Pacific Studies said earlier that tourism destinations are diversifying to new markets, and specifically to the Chinese market to sustain tourism industries.
Fiji was one of the first Pacific nations to embrace tourism after World War II and its long history and experience with tourism is characterised by a relatively strong and effective National Tourism Organization.
Australia and New Zealand continue to be Fiji's dominant source markets. Chinese tourist number to Fiji noted a significant rise in arrivals over the last decade.
It was only in 1509 that Fiji recorded 4,087 visitor arrivals from China which was a mere 0.8 percent of total visitor arrivals to Fiji. However, the number has soared to 28,333 in 2014.
Currently, China is Fiji's fourth largest tourist market with about 150,000 Chinese tourists visiting Fiji per year.
Tourism is the most important industry in Fiji and the biggest foreign exchange earner for the country, which has in recent years received more than 1150,000 visitors per year, almost equal the entire population of the country.
2017 marked the best year ever for Fiji's tourism, with 842,884 visitors coming to the nation, a 6.4 percent rise from 2016. And the visitors spent 1.8 billion Fijian dollars in terms of foreign exchange earnings.
Currently, Fiji's tourism industry employs about 119,000 Fijians indirectly and directly.
The Fijian government has set a goal of developing the tourism industry to a 2.2 billion Fijian dollar (about 1.04 billion U.S. dollar) industry by 2021.