Vaccination only way out of the current crisis: FHTA
July 19, 2021 3:55 pm
The Fiji Hotel & Tourism Association recognizes that the 2021/2022 National Budget was delivered under very trying circumstances.
This is following an economic contraction of 15.7 percent in 2020, a further 4.1 percent contraction projected for this year, and a loss of over two billion dollars billion in Gross Domestic Product.
The Tourism industry alone contributed three billion dollars in taxes and foreign exchange earnings in 2019.
FHTA Chief Executive, Fantasha Lockington, says it is clear the Fijian economy is feeling this gaping hole and the industry is keen to take advantage of what has been offered in the new budget.
Lockington adds the industry-recognized early that vaccination is the only way out of this current crisis, so FHTA is encouraged to see this as one of the Budget’s key focus areas.
She highlights key initiatives are expected to address the economic shortfalls with many support programs being continued from last year.
She says with tourism being forced to shed approximately 60% of its 130,000 employees, the focus on income support for the unemployed is a welcome and critical feature.
The Government says the economy is not expected to rebound to 2019 levels for three years, and while FHTA believes the industry is a little more optimistic about rebound levels, it acknowledges that several key milestones must be achieved beforehand,
Lockington says the focus on vaccination as a condition of employment is the biggest milestone to achieve for Fiji to get its largest industry back to work under safer conditions.
She adds under the business revival strategies, FHTA welcomes the retention of tax reforms introduced last year that the industry has not been able to take advantage of because of closed borders.
The Association welcomes the inclusion of other business support measures where fees & charges for licensing and compliance are either being waived or will be paid for by the Government.
She says incentives have also been introduced to support new investment in tourism, as well as support existing tourism businesses.