Tourism Looks Forward to Industry Support from 2021/2022 National Budget to Survive and Recover

Tourism Looks Forward to Industry Support from 2021/2022 National Budget to Survive and Recover

FHTA 30 June 2021 – The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA) appreciated the recent opportunity to consult with the Ministry of Economy to discuss the National Budget expectations, sharing that the industry must first survive the current crisis to emerge safer and ready to do business in what is emerging as a changed COVID focused world.

With the previous support from last years budget only being able to make a significant impact with borders reopened and international visitors returning; tourism’s major contribution to foreign exchange earnings, employment and large, beneficial multiplier effects on the economy are on pause until it can be supported to survive through clear and specific recovery strategies.

“Our focus is on recovery and revitalisation,” says Ms Lockington.

Ms Lockington added “It was a great opportunity for us to present directly to the minister and give him first-hand information on what the industry is going through and areas the industry needed critical support”

FHTA has requested for the current level of taxes and duties to remain for at least the next 3 years, for financial support through government initiatives and as well as bank assistance for hotels to be revamped and refurbished after an extended period of closures, and to restocked to receive guests

Pre-COVID, the tourism sector was responsible for bringing in over 40 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and was a major tax contributor.

Almost 16 months after borders closed, SME businesses that form the core of the tourism industry are closed and cash strapped, with many hanging on by a thread.

“When tourism is on its feet again, the Fijian economy rebounds,” said Ms Lockington. “But this means that Fiji needs to have all its available products and services ready to welcome back visitors, including the different accommodation options, activities, transport systems, tours and supply lines who are now either closed or struggling to stay open”.

FHTA has also assured the Government of the industry’s full support for the current vaccination programme being undertaken around the country, reflected in the west having the highest uptake of vaccines so far.

The Association continues to actively campaign for its members and is optimistic that with more employers supporting the need for vaccinations to keep the Fijian population safer, they will soon be able to focus on more business activity.