Fiji can double visitor arrivals by 2033: ANZ Economist

March 17, 2024 12:15 pm

International Economist Kishti Sen believes Fiji can double its peak season arrivals to 1.2million visitors by 2033 without compromising on its charm.

In ANZ’s latest research ‘Pacific Insight’, Sen says this equates to 8.1 percent growth in in-bound demand each year.

Sen states that while this is higher than the 4.6 percent per year growth Fiji achieved over the decade to 2019, they believe this target is achievable and can become Fiji’s sustainable level of peak season annual demand.

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Australia is Fiji’s main source of tourism.

Sen says of all Australian overseas travel in the decade before COVID, about three percent came to Fiji.

This proportion Sen says rose to 6.1 percent in 2022 when many of Australia’s favoured holiday destinations were fully or partially closed, before easing to 3.9% in 2023.

Last year, saw the highest number of Australians on record visit Fiji.

During its peak season, Fiji welcomed a record 239,747 visitors from Australia, which is 33,634 more than the previous high of 206,113 in 2019, up 16.4%.

Sen says lifting its market share to five percent by 2033 will provide another 160,000 travellers from Australia, accounting for 32 percent of the growth target.

New Zealand, Fiji’s second major market also experienced strong growth post COVID.

Sen says Fiji is already New Zealanders’ favoured destination for a holiday, and there is scope to extract another 50,000 leisure travellers from that market.

Fiji Airways has added seat capacity by bringing in new aircraft and is banking on growing the airlift out of the US, Canada and Asian markets especially China.

Fiji Airways recently added Vancouver and Noumea as new destinations and plans to increase visibility and connectivity into Asia, the US and Canada.

Passengers out of these markets account for 40% of new in-bound demand.

In addition, long-term migration of Fijians to New Zealand, Australia, the US and Canada has created a significant Fijian diaspora and these numbers have grown recently.

Fijians living offshore often travel back home to visit friends and family.

So the ‘visiting friends and relatives’ category is going to get larger.

Sen says as a hub for the South Pacific, Fiji frequently hosts international conferences, meetings and events. Climate change conventions, peak business council forums and sporting events feature throughout the year.

The segment he adds is poised to grow strongly given the geopolitics of the region and greater integration of sporting competitions between Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific island countries.

All in all, Sen says a doubling of peak-season demand by 2033 is within reach.

Once there, Sen says a figure of around two million visitors per year can become Fiji’s sustainable level of international tourism demand.

However, the ANZ Economist says Fiji will need to make investments in its airport infrastructure to manage higher demand.