As Fiji reopens to the world, Tourism Fiji’s top priority is securing new markets.
“We were very serious about what we were doing over there,” says Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill about Fiji Airways’ recent promotional direct flight to Vancouver.
Hill told Islands Business the event wasn’t just about the new route, it was about how Fiji can “really grow” in a new market like Canada.
“It’s really important to add more markets to Fiji. We’ve got Australia and New Zealand. Canada is a really strong, viable alternative to that, that takes a lot of work. We did Vancouver, Toronto, Las Vegas and San Francisco, the feedback was phenomenal,” he said.
He said people at the promotional event were excited about Fiji as “North Americans, particularly Canadians, that don’t want to fly through Los Angeles, would be able to fly non-stop to Nadi.”
He said Fiji Airways is “really motivated” to provide the service daily.
Meanwhile, Fiji is not out of the woods yet with COVID-19. Speaking just before the government’s decision to do away with mandatory COVID-19 testing for all arrivals into the country, Hill encouraged people to get boosted.
“At Tourism Fiji, we’re obviously 100%. So, certainly from that perspective, the tourism industry understands the need to do it. We just need that wider community to get fully vaccinated.”
Fiji’s Bureau of Statistics’ recent visitors arrivals report showed over 78,000 people arrived in the country in July. Of the 78,638 visitors, 77,691 came by air while 947 came by sea.
Hill is optimistic visitor figures will hold up.
“The U.S is not slowing down anytime soon. The bookings from there are really, really strong,” he said.
“I think the really critical challenge for us next year is that we do need some of those new markets to be able to get to the targets that we want.”
“We are hopeful that China will open up around February next year… Japan… Hong Kong… Europe really needs that Singapore route to be able to come through. So, we need that to happen… we need more of the world to open up,” he said.
On Asian markets, Hill said “We don’t have the budget to be able to do too much. We’re just using our PR to prepare the market.”
“We’re attending a number of trade events. We’re doing something in Singapore and China. Our team in China is working really hard on the Chinese speaking market around the world and that’s working really well for us.”