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Tourism Fiji Applauds Air Pacific’s Increase in Flights to Hong Kong

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Tourism Fiji CEO Josefa Tuamoto has applauded Air Pacific’s decision to boost its Hong Kong-Nadi route with a third service from next December describing the national carrier’s move as a huge boost for Fiji's tourism aspirations in the key China market.

Mr Tuamoto said the airline’s decision to implement the new service ten months ago had been more than vindicated by the substantial increase in Chinese visitor arrivals Fiji had welcomed since Air Pacific commenced flying on the route.

“We have seen an exponential increase in our visitor arrival figures from China with 2010 Q2 numbers already closing in on the 8000 mark,” he said. “This has effectively pushed China into place as our eighth main source of international arrivals.”

Mr Tuamoto said while the numbers came off a relatively small base, the 7,684 Chinese visitor arrivals recorded for the period January to June represented a close on 32% increase over the same period last year.

“This is directly attributable to the success our tourism industry has enjoyed since Air Pacific implemented the direct services,” he said.

Mr Tuamoto also paid tribute to the efforts the local tourism industry has gone to in the China market to raise Fiji’s profile and the potential the destination has to offer Chinese visitors.

“We’ve put in some very hard yards to attract and engage this prime source of visitor arrivals,” he said.

This, he said, included attending major consumer and trade events and staging travel agents workshops in Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

Just last month in Shanghai with Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and Minister for Tourism Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in attendance, Tourism Fiji launched the national tourist office’s first ever Fiji travel planner for the Chinese market.

Mr Tuamoto said a significant competitive advantage the Hong Kong-Nadi service represents is the variety of airline options it offers to connect Fiji with others parts of northern Asia.

This is particularly the case with India where the tourism industry has been active in recent months delivering industry updates and travel agents workshops in Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi.

The national tourist office has also hosted several key media and travel industry groups in Fiji as part of a rolling strategy designed to increase awareness for the destination.

“India like China has a rapidly expanding, very well heeled middle class – add to that the potential the VFR (visiting friends and relatives) market represents,” he said. “We have already seen an increase in numbers from this market since last December, our six month total January to June taking Indian visitor arrivals to 1437, an increase of 28.6% over the same period in 2009 ... Admittedly this figure is again off a very small base but that figure has pushed India into place as our ninth source of international visitor arrivals.

“Just as the Japanese market represented huge opportunities several years ago, today’s burgeoning China and India markets represent huge potential for many competing destinations around the world,” Mr Tuamoto said. “So it is extremely pleasing to see our national airline take an even bigger role in enabling our industry to gain an even more strategic foothold in these key markets ... With Hong Kong- adi flights being operated on a codeshare basis with Cathay Pacific, the service also represents a good alternative option for our UK and European visitors.”

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