FHTA 18 July 2020 – The Fijian Government’s bold recovery initiatives and the revolutionary tax reviews is a clear indication reinforcing that we are all in this together.
The Fiji Hotel & Tourism Association (FHTA) was optimistic that the 2020-2021 budget address would incorporate pragmatic approaches to assisting the industry and the Government has directly responded to our needs as we recover from the lowest point of our industry’s recent history.
We are therefore delighted that the Government has delivered a bold and innovative budget that has responded to our needs and has set the framework we need to reduce overhead costs. We are confident that our members will support the initiatives to ensure that the savings are passed on to the customers and know they are keen to provide value for money packages to rekindle the tourism industry. Government has taken a critical enabling step towards this goal.
We have no doubt that this mix of government commitment and business creativity will define Fiji’s recovery from COVID-19. It recognises that to bring jobs back quickly, we must bring back visitors quickly and driving business creativity during far from normal times is critical.
The industry has already commenced working on creating safe work practices and environments to maintain Fiji’s COVID containment status that ensures we keep our people and our visitors safe, and sincerely acknowledge the intense efforts by all concerned to get us to this safe stage.
Covid-19 might have taken a negative toll on our businesses and our economy, but we have a great opportunity to restart the travel industry and rebuild it in a way that it can operate more sustainably.
Business recovery for tourism delivers socio-economic benefits; we can make more jobs available and tourism’s multiplier effects have always benefited communities throughout Fiji.
We also acknowledge and greatly appreciate that Government continues to enable and provide assistance to tourism industry staff, who we know are struggling as a result of employment cuts caused by this pandemic.
The Association remains optimistic that quarantine-free travel will commence soon with New Zealand and shortly thereafter, Australia. Domestic consumption, while highly appreciated, is not sufficient for the long-term sustainability of the industry and we urgently need the foreign tourism market to recommence to fully reinvigorate the industry together with the employment it brings.
We look forward to cooperating with Government and our national carrier, Fiji Airways, to return tourism to its rightful place as the key driver of economic growth in Fiji.
For now, we need the support of all Fijians while we work hard to recover.