July 30, 2009

Fiji Tourism Collapse Not Good

Tourism collapse not good
www.fijitimes.com - Thursday, July 30, 2009
A COLLAPSE in the tourism or sugar sector will have a negative flow-on effect on the economy, says University of Queensland associate professor of economics Renuka Mahadevan. She made the comment in her assessment of the Fiji economy at the 2009 Fiji Economy Update presentation yesterday. She said there was a need for diversification into other crops apart from sugar as non-agricultural production contributed to six per cent of Gross Domestic Product. "The huge potential in this area remains unexploited. About 50 per cent of the people are rural farmers," Ms Mahadevan said. "Creation of employment opportunities is necessary to lift them out of poverty. Local production is insufficient and cannot be depended on to meet the high standards required by the tourism sector which imports food because of the poor quality and lack of continuity in supply." Australian High Commissioner James Batley said Australia was serious about providing direct support for Fiji's export-related sectors. He said the assistance was consistent with Australia's long history of assistance to Fiji. "We also maintain significant programs of assistance in the education and health sectors as well as working on community sector development," Mr Batley said. He said Fiji was benefiting from an Australian pilot program, the Enterprise Challenge Fund, which provides grants to business projects to improve.
livelihoods, incomes and access to vital goods and services for local communities.

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