Tourism industry stakeholders in the country will use the next three days to exhibit and promote their products and services to international buyers at the Fijian Tourism Expo (FTE) 2015.
While officially opening the annual expo at Denarau this morning, Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Hon. Faiyaz Koya said the FTE is the culmination of the Fijian Government’s vision of creating equal opportunity for all Fijians.
Minister Koya said the program is designed to cater for the needs of all service providers, big and small, and effectively promote Fiji as a tourist destination to the world.
He highlighted various efforts by Government to ensure a vibrant tourism industry for Fiji’s bright future.
“As stakeholders in the industry – as buyers and sellers of the Fijian product - you need to be aware of efforts of the Fijian Government to give you the best, not just in terms of incentives, easy access to land, but also a well-education workforce. The Bainimarama Government has made education free in Fiji and today our literacy rate is over 93 per cent,” Minister Koya said.
“In the next 3-5 years the tourist industry will be able to source workers who have a minimum qualification of high school graduation. There are also opportunities for the employees in the industry to go back and further their qualification.”
Minister Koya stressed the need for every Fijian to make our visitors stay in Fiji a memorable one by providing them the best level of service from the moment they set foot in the country.
A major feature of the FTE 2015 is the Fijian Crafted Village, which is aimed at promoting genuine crafts and creating links with the local crafters.
“The 2014 International Visitors Survey Draft Report, which will be launched by the Ministry in the next few weeks, indicated that visitors are concerned that hotels, resorts and retail outlets are not selling genuine Fijian arts and crafts.
The Fijian Government is working towards addressing this concern, and had launched the Fijian crafted brand in 2012. This is part of the overall Fijian Made-Buy Fijian Campaign that authenticates Fijian Made products. This brand/logo differentiates the authentic Fijian arts and crafts from the imported pass-offs,” Minister Koya highlighted.
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism is working with stakeholders to develop the Fijian Tourism Development Plan, which will ensure that all tourism-related agencies and other Governmental agencies work together to create a long-term plan for the Fijian Tourism industry to reach the $2billion mark.
“The Fijian Government has invested significantly in the diversification of our product base and has developed niche markets in areas, such as, professional golf – Fiji International PGA Tournament, Surfing, international rugby and a well-developed MICE market,” Minister Koya said.
More than 358 exhibitors, 151 international buyers and 18 international media partners are participating in the FTE, which comes to an end on Thursday.