FIJI — A study led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has shown that Fiji’s cruise tourism is thriving and there exist more opportunities for investments in the sector which contributed aboutUS$21.4 million to the Fijian economy last year.
It also said that more investment to attract cruise tourism to Fiji could lead to an added US$43.98 million to the Fijian economy over the next 10 years.
According to the study, the private sector was the biggest winner making 70 percent of the revenue earned from cruise tourism, with the Fijian Government receiving 28 percent.
The IFC led study into Fiji’s cruise tourism also found that every cruise ship voyage yielded an average US$147,000 in spending at every port of call, with cruise ship passengers spending an average US$44.
Speaking during the release of the study’s finding, Fijian Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Hon. Premila Kumar revealed that In Fiji, tourism activities are largely centered in Viti Levu and the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands.
The minister said, “Cruise tourism provides an economic opportunity for those in our more remote islands that have a lot to offer as well,” adding that “Fiji is diverse in culture and tradition and most of these have not been seen by the outside world.”
The study identifies seven investment opportunities that could generate more revenue for Fiji. It found nearly half cruise ship passengers wanted to spend more in the country but had unmet spending opportunities.
“The study highlights there’s a clear opportunity for Fijians to gain more income from cruise tourism,” Thomas Jacobs, IFC Country Manager for the Pacific, said.
He further noted that, “With the study showing passengers are particularly interested in handicrafts, there’s an immediate prospect for rural women to earn money as they’re the largest producers of Fiji’s traditional handicraft.”
The study which is titled: Assessment of the Economic Impact of Cruise Tourism in Fiji was commissioned in November this year by the Fijian Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism (MITT) and the Australian Government with the support of Carnival Australia and Royal Caribbean International.
The report was launched, following the handover of the hydrographic survey data of Yasawa-i-Rara by the Market Development Facility (MDF), another project in Fiji that was funded by the Australian Government funded project.