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Fiji tourism bosses ready to pop the corks

Fiji tourism bosses ready to pop the corks

Fiji¹s tourism bosses are ready to pop the champagne corks.

They¹re planning to celebrate the Pacific Island nation¹s biggest ever year for tourism.

Fiji¹s all-time record for visitors was reached in 1999 when almost 410,000 tourists arrived from all parts of the world.

But this figure is now certain to be beaten.

With just a month of statistics to come in for 2003, visitor numbers stand at 392,777, up 7 percent on the previous 11 months figures of 367,046.

Fiji Visitor Bureau¹s New Zealand director, Paresh Pant, is confident visitor numbers will well exceed the previous 410,000 all-time record.

A new best-ever record is also expected to be achieved for New Zealand tourists to Fiji.

When the Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics releases the December figures in about four weeks, Mr Pant is expecting close to 75,000 Kiwis for the year.

The previous highest New Zealand visitor record of 72,156 was set in 1999.

Mr Pant, who is based in Auckland, said the growing number of tourists from New Zealand was contributing to Fiji¹s tourism success.

"New Zealanders are choosing to holiday closer to home after the continuing threats of global terrorism and disruptions to airline schedules," he said.

In November 5166 Kiwis vacationed in Fiji, up almost 27 percent on the previous year.

For the 11 months to November, 70,387 Kiwis have holidayed in the Pacific Island nation, exceeding 68,293 previously.

Mr Pant said November was a strong month for visitors from Australia (up almost 17 percent), Japan (up almost 19 percent), the United States (over 12 percent) and Canada (up 13 percent).

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