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The tourism sector, which has been identified as the future driver of economic activity in Fiji, is undoubtedly the most important contributor to the Fijian economy, says permanent secretary for the Ministry of Tourism Shaheen Ali.
Ali made the comments when he opened the first stakeholder consultation on the Fijian Tourism 2021 Plan in Suva Thursday.
“The visitor arrivals and earnings have been increasing by record numbers over the past few years. We want this trend to continue, especially in terms of earnings,” he said.
Minister for Tourism Faiyaz Koya said Government had set a target of creating a $2.2 billion (US$1.06 billion) industry for the entire tourism sector by the end of 2021 when he launched the 2014 International Visitor Survey Report last December.
The minister had said: “The Fijian Government recognises the Fijian tourism industry as a key sector, contributing to the Fijian economy. This sector is not only the largest contributor to the Fijian GDP, but is the largest employer and an industry with the most foreign direct investments.”
The Fijian Tourism 2021 Plan, involving all tourism key stakeholders, is the move being put in place by Government to achieve this target.
Ali said that Government saw the need to put in place a plan that would consolidate and co-ordinate efforts towards the growth of the industry.
He outlined that the objectives of the plan were to:
* Catalyse visitor expenditure and tourism yield;
* Create a conduicive environment for sustainable increase in visitor arrivals; and
* Support development of a sustainable and inclusive tourism sector.
He said there were nine thematic areas that would be presented to key tourism stakeholders for discussions.
“Which are accompanied by very practical strategies that will help achieve the target and objectives of the plan,” Ali said.
He said moving forward, they expected all stakeholders to provide their valuable input to the draft strategies.
“I request everyone to be focused and provide input keeping in mind the overall vision. As stakeholders you all have a role to play in taking this plan forward.”
Ali reminded stakeholders they could provide written comments over the next two weeks.
“Furthermore, we are all available to have one-on-one meetings in that two-week period if any stakeholder is interested to discuss the strategies further.”
He said comments and feedbacks would be incorporated into the plan and the ministry would set a date for the final validation of the plan by all stakeholders. “We want everyone to take ownership of this plan — it is our plan and we all should work together to achieve the goals set,” Ali said.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
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