Tourism Talanoa: FHTA Holds Historic 55th AGM

Tourism Talanoa: FHTA Holds Historic 55th AGM

FHTA, 27 August 2020 – The global headlines in the 1960s were dominated by the Vietnam War, the assassinations of the US President John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King and the first man on the moon.
Here in Fiji, amongst other things, the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association also came into being during these historic mid-Sixties.

Originally established to look after the interests of hotel operators, the Association has grown from strength to strength as the country’s premier tourism body that has lent its membership’s collective voice in support of the evolution of the industry as Fiji’s strongest foreign exchange earner, tourism’s exponential growth, related infrastructure development and recognition of the iconic Fiji brand.

An integral part of the industry now; the Association continues to lobby and advocate for its membership interests that progress opportunities and investments through reviewing the ease of doing business and provides consultative input on the cost of doing business in a rapidly developing pacific island country .

In the mid-2000s, membership was opened up to Dive operators and a few years later, Marine operators and eventually Yachting became a part of the Association to embrace the diversified segments that operated under the tourism umbrella.

The membership ranks also include Associate members who are indirectly part of the tourism chain as a supplier or distributor significantly influenced by tourism businesses, their employees, trends and infrastructure.

Later this afternoon (Thursday 27th August), FHTA convenes its Annual General Meeting on Denarau Island in Nadi. This will be the 55th AGM in FHTA’s history, making this our Emerald anniversary; one of several firsts that this AGM will mark.

It will be the first time in 21 years of consistent annual AGM’s that FHTA’s President of 16 years and much-loved mentor will not be gracing with his presence, having left us a year ago with his untimely passing. Dixon Seeto was a titan in the tourism sector with a wealth of experience and fortitude that was immeasurable and still missed.

It will also be the first time that an AGM will be attended via Zoom as well as in person, during a historical and unprecedented time when the tourism industry is in a forced hiatus. And yet, in contrast to how hiatus’ generally go, this one has not only gone on now for almost 6 months, and quite likely to continue for a further 6 months, it has been anything but quiet. Instead, it has also been a time of consistent adjustment, transformation and forced pivoting for the entire industry.

There has never been a time historically, where while negligible or no income is possible, that businesses have had to review their human resource needs, restructure and amend strategic plans, reconsider products and services and plan for the adoption and implementation of new hygiene practices and marketing strategies.

As the global travel lockdown persists, tourism around the world has been affected and Fiji, being so reliant on it, has been spared the tragic health repercussions but has fared no better than everyone else economically.

During FHTA’s historic AGM, we will vote in new and dynamic members to join our board to lend their expertise and diverse backgrounds to steering the industry back to the pinnacle of what private sector as the engine of economic growth must continue to be.

Creating jobs, increasing trade, providing products and services and generating required tax revenue to fund basic public services such as health and education.

COVID-19 might have thrown us all for a loop and businesses may not be the same again for a long time. We understand implicitly how severely our members and their employees have been impacted and will be working with all of them to implement the new normal of COVID Safe standards expected around the world to instil the levels of confidence needed by potential visitors to confirm travel when the world opens up for travel again.

We continue our consultations and discussions with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport and the Ministry of Health & Medical Services to set the standard for Fiji’s new health guidelines in terms of what is expected of all tourism operators in the country. It is difficult and often complicated work, but people’s livelihoods depend on the new framework being approved, implemented and in operation as quickly as logistically possible.

Our economy depends on getting these practices becoming second nature in our places of work, homes and public spaces. As does the alignment of the new marketing strategies also being developed and planned concurrently by the national airline and all tourism operators keen to be first cabs off the rank when those borders open.

We also continue our collaborations and consultations with the Ministries of Fisheries, the Maritime Safety Authority (MSAF), Ministry of Transport and the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Investment Fiji, the Immigration Department, the Department of Environment, the Fiji Revenue & Customs services (FRCS), the Fiji Higher Education Commission, USP, FNU, the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC), the Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation (FCEF), Fiji Competition & Consumer Commission (FCCC), the Consumer Council, the Accident Compensation Commission Fiji (ACCF) Fiji Airways, Tourism Fiji, Society of Fiji Travel Associates (SOFTA), South Pacific Travel Organisation (SPTO), Fiji Independent Travel & Backpackers Association (FITBA), Airports Fiji Ltd, the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, the Employment Relations Advisory Board, the various legal fraternity, the Unions, the Ministry of Economy and Departments of Energy and Communications, EFL and Water Authority, the iTaukei Land Trust Board, the Fiji Bureau of Statistics (FBoS), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), ADB, the Reserve Bank of Fiji and the Association of Banks in Fiji (ABIF), the many High Commissions and foreign embassies.

These are just some of the many platforms the Association meets with to navigate tourism’s business processes, obtain legislation clarity or amendments, or develop partnership programs and support with.

FHTA continues to work on understanding what the changing key membership priorities and challenges are in the current economic environment to enable the most advantageous partnerships and cooperation for viable and sustainable solutions.

We will remember Dixon’s timeless legacy by ensuring we continue to work towards that which he had the most passion – “it was good for tourism only if the whole economy benefitted”; a conviction that defined who he was and one that we continue to support with the same passion.

By: Fantasha Lockington – CEO, FHTA

Published in the Fiji Times on 27 August 2020

Extreme weather impacting Pacific exporters

Extreme weather impacting Pacific exporters

PTI 14 August 2020 – Sixty-five per cent of Pacific Island exporters reported that extreme weather has negatively impacted their business over the past year according to Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia’s ‘2020 Pacific Islands Export Survey’.

Among those affected, 41 per cent said extreme weather conditions have had a major impact on their business.

Now in its eighth year, the biennial survey provides insights into trends, changes and business sentiment across 16 countries in the Pacific Islands. For the first time, the survey of 226 export businesses was expanded to explore the impacts of weather patterns.

Increased frequency of storms (38 per cent), extreme rainfall (26 per cent), rising air temperature over land (19 per cent), decreased rainfall (17 per cent), increased flooding (16 per cent), prolonged drought (14 per cent) and rising sea levels (12 per cent) are some of the weather patterns respondents said have affected their businesses.

According to the survey, agriculture was the industry hardest hit by extreme weather. Of all export businesses affected by extreme weather, decreased productivity (56 per cent), damage to crops or products (50 per cent), and an increased cost of supplies (32 per cent) were reported as some of the main impacts.

“While nearly half of all businesses experienced an increase in export orders over the past 12 months, the survey found a quarter of exporters are now reporting a decline in revenue, as extreme weather and COVID-19 affect productivity and disrupt operations,” said Caleb Jarvis, PTI Australia’s Trade and Investment Commissioner.

“As businesses navigate economic uncertainty, they are feeling less confident about the coming year. Twenty-seven per cent expect a decline in revenue and there has been a significant decline in exporters looking to hire new employees over the next 12 months.

“However, despite the crisis, manufacturing and agriculture remain confident, indicating a strong ongoing demand for their products.”

The Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands Program Director, Jonathan Pryke, said that while many Pacific Island exporters were doing it tough, there was good cause for optimism.

“The persistent constraints of natural disasters, alongside high fuel, finance and logistics costs, did not stop nearly half of exporters in the survey reporting growth in export revenue in the previous year. However, the pace and ferocity of COVID-19 have up-ended this optimism,” Jonathan said.

“The rapidly changing economic context is reflected in the exporter sentiment. While 61 per cent of businesses expect to see export growth in 2020, these numbers are anchored by manufacturing and agriculture.

“Tourism operators – almost half of the survey sample – are less optimistic, with 49 per cent expecting to see revenues decline,” he said.

The survey found revenue generated from international tourists is expected to decline from all geographic areas, particularly tourists from China, Japan and North America.

“The resumption of air travel through a trans-Pacific bubble will be a critical lifeline for the tourism industry and will help to drive down costs for agricultural exporters, who rely on air freight to get their goods to market,” said Mr Pryke.

To help address economic and environmental challenges, the survey found businesses are driving growth through improving process efficiency, developing new products and services, and enhancing digital marketing. Three-quarters of businesses, particularly in manufacturing, are also using online channels to generate export revenue.

Caleb said, “Following this survey, PTI Australia will continue to help exporters grow their online presence by providing data, knowledge, training and technology – making them more resilient to external shocks. It’s critical that solutions are found to key challenges such as access to affordable online payment solutions, cross-border payments and cost-effective small parcel logistic services.”

The survey also found that 74 per cent of businesses are planning to export to new markets over the next three years. Asia continues to hold the most appeal, while export to Europe and Australia will become increasingly popular, according to the survey.

Export to regions outside of the Pacific Islands continues to be high (94 per cent), with Australia and New Zealand remaining the two major export destinations.

“If there is any silver lining to 2020, it’s that Pacific exporters are accustomed to doing it tough. Despite significant headwinds, many exporters not only prevailed but prospered. Let’s hope that resilience continues in 2020,” Johnathan said.

Please visit the PTI Australia website to access the 2020 Pacific Islands Export Survey full report and highlights report.

FBoS Annual Provisional Visitors Arrival – January

FBoS Annual Provisional Visitors Arrival – January

20 February 2020 – Provisional numbers show that visitor arrivals for January 2020 totaled 65,386.

  • The January Visitors arrival records showed an increase of 2.5% in comparison to 2018, showing an increase in visitors from Australia (7.3% or 2,026), USA (8.8% or 500), UK (12.5% or 158), China (12.7% or 505), and Others (0.2% or 1)
  • Decreases in the number of visitors from New Zealand (-2.2% or down 257), Canada (-4.1% or down 46), Cont Europe (-3.6% or down 104), Japan (-35.6% or down 401), South Korea (-58.7% or down 450), Rest of Asia (-9.3% or down 172) and Pacific Islands (-3.5% or down 181)
  • The moving six months to January 2020, Fiji Bureau of Statistics has reported visitor arrival has increased by 0.2% over the corresponding period in 2019, up from 455073 to 455904.
  • In addition, the moving twelve monthly numbers ending January 2020, the total number of visitors to Fiji increased by 2.8% compared to the same period in 2019.

SPTO Market Watch – December 2019

SPTO Market Watch – December 2019

SPTO – December 2019

Market Watch is the South Pacific Tourism Organization’s monthly market intelligence summary exclusively for members. This monthly publication highlights the latest travel trends and resident departure movements in the key outbound travel markets for the Pacific, viz. Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe, Asia, China and India.

*All information published in Market Watch is dependent on the availability of information from the relevant sources for each Source Market.

Monthly Market Watch December 2019 Brief – World Outbound Travel

In December 2019, an estimated 21.8 million international short term trips were undertaken worldwide, by eight international regions. This is a growth from last month’s international short term trips by 8.2% but a fall of 15.3% comparative to last year December.

Looking at total shares, USA leads the charge at 37.9%, followed by the Chinese at 22.9%. The United Kingdom lags behind at 17.5%, meanwhile in Asia, Singapore trails behind South Korea at 5.9% to 10.4% respectively. The minority of outgoing travellers from Australia, New Zealand and India capture the remaining 5.4%.Read more…

RBF Economic Review for December 2019

RBF Economic Review for December 2019

RBF Economic Review Vol 36 No 12

Global economic growth is expected to pick up to 3.4 percent in 2020 against an anticipated lackluster 3.0 percent expansion in 2019. Ongoing trade tensions
coupled with weak global demand have weighed on growth of major economies in 2019. Going forward,further escalation in United States (US)-China trade
war and an upswing in crude oil prices pose downside risks to global growth next year.
Commodity prices generally rose over the month in November due to higher demand for crude oil supported by some optimism in US-China trade deal.
The monthly increase in the FAO1 food price index was driven by higher prices of vegetable oils, meat and sugar.

The Fijian economy is expected to grow by 1.7 percent in 2020, from a 1.0 percent anticipated growth in 2019. The modest growth estimated for
2019 reflects subdued aggregate demand, mixed sectoral performances, weak business confidence and reduced fiscal stimulus.

Tourism remains positive as visitor arrivals rose by 3.5 percent cumulative to November, due to higher arrivals from
the US, New Zealand, Japan, Pacific Island Countries and Australia. In addition, tourism earnings grew by 3.7 percent to total $1,543.0 million
up to the third quarter of the year. In the 2019 crushing season, both cane (6.5%) and sugar production (5.3%) increased over the year.
Similarly, mahogany production rose significantly, while woodchips, pine wood, sawn timber and gold output fell in the year to November.

Full Report: Economic-Review-December-2019

Provisional Hotels And Tourist Accommodation Statistics, Quarter 3, 2019

Provisional Hotels And Tourist Accommodation Statistics, Quarter 3, 2019

Fiji Bureau of Statistics Release  No 1 2020

Findings from the Quarter 3, 2019 survey of Licensed Hotels, Resorts and Lodging Houses are presented in the release below;

Compared to Quarter 3, 2018
 The number of Rooms Available increased by 6.0%.
 The number of Rooms Sold increased by 8.4%.
 The Room Occupancy Rate increased by 1.3 percentage points to 62.1%.
 The number of Beds Available increased by 2.0%.
 The number of Beds Sold increased by 6.5%.
 The Bed Occupancy Rate increased by 2.4 percentage points to 57.8%.
 Takings from Accommodation, Sales of Food, Liquor, Telephone and Other
Miscellaneous Charges totaled $371.4 million, an increase of 6.8%.
 Paid Employment in the Hotel Sector increased by 3.2%.

Full report:Hotels-Qtr3-2019

Provisional Hotels And Tourist Accommodation Statistics, Quarter 3, 2019

Provisional Hotels And Tourist Accommodation Statistics, Quarter 3, 2019

FBoS Release No. 01 – 15th January 2020.

Compared to Quarter 3, 2018:
 The number of Rooms Available increased by 6.0%.
 The number of Rooms Sold increased by 8.4%.
 The Room Occupancy Rate increased by 1.3 percentage points to 62.1%.
 The number of Beds Available increased by 2.0%.
 The number of Beds Sold increased by 6.5%.
 The Bed Occupancy Rate increased by 2.4 percentage points to 57.8%.
 Takings from Accommodation, Sales of Food, Liquor, Telephone and Other
Miscellaneous Charges totaled $371.4 million, an increase of 6.8%.
 Paid Employment in the Hotel Sector increased by 3.2%.

View More..

New aircraft to boost Australian visitor arrivals

New aircraft to boost Australian visitor arrivals

The Fiji Times, 17 December 2019 – AUSTRALIAN visitor arrivals into Fiji have plateaued and dipped over the past five years but Fiji Airways brand new Airbus A350 aircraft and Qantas entering the market should see a hike in numbers.

This is the view of Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association chief executive officer Fantasha Lockington.

According to the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, Australian arrivals hit 367,273 in 2015, went down to 360,370 in 2016, moved up to 365,689 in 2017 and went down again to 365,660 last year.

“We can see from the FBOS figures that Australian arrivals have gone down a little bit,” Mrs Lockington said.…read more

FBoS Provisional Visitors Arrival – October

FBoS Provisional Visitors Arrival – October

Fiji Bureau of Statistics – 25 November 2019

  • Visitors arrival for the last 12 months increased by 2.6% in comparison to 2018, showing an increase in visitors from Japan (40.3% or 4,295), Rest of Asia (6.8% or 1,860), USA (12.3% or 10,528), NZ (4.1% or 8,063), UK (4.9% or 804), Canada (2.4% or 317) and Pacific Islands (2.6% or 1,364).
  • The YTD arrivals also reflect this modest increase from NZ (3.9%) USA (14.0%) Canada (0.5%), UK (6.6%), Japan (30.9%), Rest of Asia (10.4%), Pacific Is (5.9%), Other (6.4%) and a decrease from Australia (-0.1), Cont. Europe (-1.0), China (-3.7%) and South Korea (-8.7%).
  • The Fiji Bureau of Statistics has reported 893,585 overall visitor arrivals for its financial year of which the majority of visitors were Australians (40.0%) and 23.6% New Zealanders.
  • Provisional visitor’s arrivals for October totaled 77,467 a decrease of 2.0% compared to a year earlier.
  • Read more…

 

 

REPORT: FBoS Tourism Earnings – June 2019 (2nd Quarter)

The Fiji Bureau of Statistics has released the Tourism Earnings Report for the second quarter of 2019.

Some highlights from the report:

  • June Quarter Tourism Earnings has experienced a positive growth of 10.1% compared to the 2018 June Quarter, moreso higher than the March Quarter of 2019.
  • Major changes in earnings recorded by Australia (up by 6.5%), NZ (up by 10.6%), USA (up by 24.4%) and China (down by 0.9%).
  • The mentioned countries accounted for 81.6% of earnings in the June quarter of 2019, a decrease of 0.5% when compared to the June quarter of 2018.
  • With regards to source market spending trends, Australian visitors accounted for 40.2% of total arrivals to Fiji and 43.13% of total spending by visitors in June 2019

View the full report here.

FBOS Provisional Visitors Arrival – August 2019

FBOS Provisional Visitors Arrival – August 2019

Fiji Bureau of Statistics, 16 September 2019 – Visitors arrival into the country in August show an increase of 0.2% compared to a year earlier.

Increases were recorded in the number of visitors from;

  • United States of America
  • New Zealand
  • China
  • Rest of Asia
  • Continental Europe

Decreases in the number of visitors recorded from;

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Pacific Islands
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom

Visitor arrivals for the last 8 months for this year recorded a 4.4 percent increase.

Full report: FBoS Statistical News

FBOS Provisional Visitors Arrival – July 2019

FBOS Provisional Visitors Arrival – July 2019

Fiji Bureau of Statistics, 21 August 2019 – Visitors arrival into the country in July show an increase of 1.4% compared to a year earlier.

Increases were recorded in the number of visitors from;

  • Australia
  • United States of America
  • Pacific Islands
  • United Kingdom
  • Continental Europe

Decreases in the number of visitors recorded from;

  • New Zealand
  • China
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • Rest of Asia

Visitor arrivals for the  last 7 months for this year recorded a 5.2 percent increase.

Full report: FBoS Statistical News

FBOS Provisional Hotels and Tourist Accommodation Statistics, Quarter 1, 2019

FBOS Provisional Hotels and Tourist Accommodation Statistics, Quarter 1, 2019
FBOS 
Compared to 2018 Quarter 1;
– the number of rooms available increased by 0.5% and rooms sold increased by 3.7%
– the number of beds available increased by 1.0% and beds sold increased by 3.7%
– room occupancy rate increased by 1.5% and the bed occupancy rate increased by 1.1%
– paid employment in the hotel sector increased by 3.4% 
– receipts from the accommodation, sales of food, liquor, telephone, and other miscellaneous charges increased by 14.0%.

Seasonally adjusted visitor arrivals April 2019

Seasonally adjusted visitor arrivals April 2019

FBoS – 17th June , 2019

  •  The trend estimates of Total Visitor Arrivals during April 2019 (75,863) increased by 1.26%, compared with March 2019 (74,917).
  • The current trend estimate for arrivals is 3.51% higher than April 2018.
  • During April 2019, seasonally adjusted Total Visitor Arrivals to Fiji (79,421) increased by 7.36% compared with March 2019 (73,974). 
  • The Total Visitor Arrivals to Fiji in April 2019 was 76,813.
  • In this publication, the month-to-month % change and year-to-year % change is not reported as they contain seasonal and irregular influences that may hide the underlying, long term movement of the series.

Read more…

Fiji Earnings From Tourism, March Quarter 2019

Fiji Earnings From Tourism, March Quarter 2019

FBoS – 17th June, 2019

Key Findings:
  • Earnings from tourism for the March Quarter increased by 2.3% (i.e from $358.2m March Quarter in 2018 compared to $366.6m March Quarter in 2019)
  • However, earnings for March Quarter was 29.9% lower than the amount recorded for the December Quarter of 2018.
  • The major changes in earnings recorded by countries as follows:
  1. Austalia down by 4.7%
  2. NZ up by 8.5%
  3. USA up by 10.8%
  4. China up by 47.1%
  5. UK up by 15.0%
  6. Japan up by 110.1%
  7. Canada down by -53.7%
  8. Cont. Europe down by -6.8%
  9. Read more…

FBoS Provisional Visitors Arrival – April 2019

FBoS Provisional Visitors Arrival – April 2019

FBoS Release No. 41, 2019 – 22nd May 2019

Key Facts:
* Total visitor arrivals are up by 20.9% compared to the same period last year.
* Up: Australia 22.5%, New Zealand 17.4%, United States 28.7%, Japan 156.8%, Canada 20%, United Kingdom 14.5%, Cont Europe 16.6, Rest of Asia 52.4%, Pacific Islands 18.3% and others 2.1%
* Down: China -10.5% and South Korea -14.7%
* FYI – Australian tourist arrivals increase for this month but drop in the past 3 months as compared to a year earlier.
January down by -1.6% , February down by -9.0% , March down by -8.8% and April up by 22.5%.

FBoS Provisional Visitor Arrivals – March 2019

FBoS Provisional Visitor Arrivals – March 2019
Fiji Bureau of Statistics – 23rd April, 2019
The latest FBoS Provisional visitors arrivals released on the 23rd April ( as attached) for your general information.
Key Facts:
* Total visitors arrivals are down by -1.3% compared to the same period last year.
* Up: USA 14.6%, Canada 4.3%, Continental Europe 1.9%, Japan 243.8%, Rest of Asia 1.4%, Pacific Islands 3.1% and others 12.6%
* Down: Australia -8.8%, New Zealand -4.2%, United Kingdom -0.2%, China -10.3%, South Korea -18.6%
* FYI – Australian tourist arrivals decreases for the past 3 months as compared to a year earlier.
January down by -1.6% , February down by -9.0% and March down by -8.8%.