Fiji has established a new visitor arrival record, welcoming more than 631,000 international visitors in 2010.
Figures released by the country’s Bureau of Statistics show that 631,868 international visitors travelled to the Souht Pacific island nation for the 12-month period, eclipsing the 542,186 total achieved for 2009 by more than 16 per cent.
Tourism Fiji CEO, Josefa Tuamoto said while the 2010 result had seen the destination cross the 600,000 visitor mark for the first time, it had also significantly exceeded previous visitor arrival projections set in 2009 in which the destination had set a target of 600,000 international travellers for 2010.
Australia continued to be the primary source of growth in arrivals to Fiji in 2010, with arrivals increasing 28 per cent year-on-year to 318,185, and accounting for 50.4 per cent of total arrivals.
New Zealand visitor arrivals reached 97,857, a 7.7 per cent growth on the previous year, while arrvials from the USA increased by three per cent to 53,122. Visitors from Pacific Islands increased 11.7 per cent to 39,198 and Continental Europe figures rose by four per cent to 30,088.
Tuamoto pointed towards the national tourist office’s ongoing efforts in its key emerging markets and particularly China and India which saw rapid growth in 2010.
“The Fiji Government’s ongoing backing of Tourism Fiji and its decision last year to re-allocated an FJ$23.5 million (US$12.7 million) budget to the tourism sector has undoubtedly played a key role for a major increase in Fiji’s tourism profile in its existing major source markets,” he said.
“However this funding is also enabling Tourism Fiji to develop even more profile in several key emerging markets we see as offering huge potential. These include China, India and Russia.
“Add to that, the funding also allows Tourism Fiji to step up its efforts in attracting niche market, special interest and sustainable tourism business into the destination.
“This includes surfers, the silver market, backpackers, meetings, incentive and conference business, dive and maritime tourism and the key romantic travel market.
“Elements of the funding are also being well spent on helping to promote several of Fiji’s non-traditional tourism regions – Kadavu, the Northern Islands, Lomaiviti and the Sunshine coast.
“There can be no doubt we are well on the way to seeing our country’s tourism industry evolve into a ‘multi-million dollar’ operation as evidenced by this fantastic 2010 result,” Tuamoto concluded.