Capping off an unprecedented six month period of growth which saw all previous Australian visitor arrival records for the July-December period fall by the wayside, Fiji has seen out 2009 just 0.5 per cent down on its record breaking 2008 performance.
Figures released this week (Feb 7) by Tourism Fiji for the 12 month period January-December 2009 show the destination attracted a total 232,680 Australians, just 1121 shy of the 233,801 figure achieved in 2008 which still stands as Fiji’s best ever result.
The result is a huge cry from the massive drop the destination experienced from Australia, its worst on record, following heavy flooding in January, the natural disaster seen as a catalyst for a more than 27 per cent drop in Australian business for the first three months of 2009.
Tourism Fiji regional director Australia Paresh Pant said that one of the main reasons for the destination’s ultimate success in rebuilding its Australian business had been ongoing support received from the local industry and the general public.
“Both the local industry and the people of Australia in general know our destination very well,” he said.
“Through the years they have come to accept that while there have been political issues and natural calamity, there have never been instances where tourists have been harmed or were in any danger.
“One of the keys to our success has been our ability to instigate appropriate crisis management plans during times of natural and man-made calamities.
“These have proven effective in minimising concerns for travellers as evidenced by the fantastic results we have seen in the last six months.
“The devaluation of the Fiji dollar in April has also played its part in helping to revitalise the numbers,” he said.
Pant said the overall 2009 result, which represents 43 per cent of Fiji’s entire international visitor intake of 538,523, provides with an excellent platform with which to reach the 270,000 Australian figure Tourism Fiji has set itself in 2010.
“The commencement of Jetstar services in just under two months, adding to existing services already being provided by Air Pacific, V Australia and Pacific Blue, will also play a major role in seeing us achieve our objectives,” he said.