ADB urges government to boost tourism investment

April 15, 2024 4:24 pm

The Asian Development Bank, in its latest economic outlook, has suggested that the government should act to sustain tourism growth and keep hotel pricing competitive.

The ADB forecasts that over the next few years, limited tourist accommodation might slow sustainable economic growth.

Currently, there are 13, 000 hotel rooms available from 421 licensed accommodation providers.

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There is also a growing number of unlicensed short-term accommodation providers on platforms such as Airbnb.

The ADB says the government can help in three ways.

These include easing impediments to domestic and foreign tourism investment, improving tourist infrastructure, particularly in outer islands, and considering alternative forms of tourism.

The ADB states Fiji should act quickly to attract more investment in tourism.

It adds that potential investors likely see the government’s complex foreign investment procedures as a barrier to investment in tourism.

It says the government should accelerate efforts to streamline and expedite investment processes while simultaneously prioritizing environmental protection and promoting sustainable tourism.

The ADB states that stakeholders see delays in finalizing and obtaining approval for an environmental impact assessment as a critical obstacle to realizing investments.

To address this, the government has established an inter-ministerial body to help streamline investment-related processes.

It further states that Fiji can also work on spreading tourism activity and benefits to more areas.

Currently, 75 percent of hotel rooms are concentrated in the Coral Coast-Nadi corridor.

It suggests Fiji can improve transportation connections to Vanua Levu.

With support from development partners, the government is already upgrading airports in Savusavu and Labasa, and a feasibility study is underway to construct a new airport capable of accommodating larger aircraft.

The ABD adds that while sea transportation remains viable, the initial focus should be on enhancing key connecting jetties to Vanua Levu.

The other suggestion outlined by the ADB in its outlook is that the Fiji government can further explore alternative forms of tourism, such as sports, retirement, and medical tourism.

Fiji has been successfully hosting some of the Super Rugby Pacific Competition since 2022.

It says Fiji also has the potential to attract medical tourists from neighboring Pacific countries by investing in additional privately operated hospitals to enhance its healthcare infrastructure.

A study by the International Finance Corporation indicates opportunities for private sector investment in advanced diagnostic facilities and specialist care hospitals.