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Tourism industry wants democracy

Tourism industry wants democracy

Fri, 9 Feb 2001 09:11:31 +1200

Issue No: 462 9 February 2001

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Tourism industry workers calls for democracy; $28m loss for Air Pacific

Employees in the tourism industry have called for democracy in the country if the tourism industry is to pick up.

Today's Fiji Sun quoted the General Secretary of the National Union of Hotel and Catering Workers, Timoci Naivaluwaqa as saying that the workers in the industry suffered significantly through redundancies, forced pay-cuts and reduced working hours. He stated: "We hope that common sense prevails and the government upholds the rule of law. Lawbreaking wont do good to this country, particularly to the tourism industry. The interim administration should come down hard on [people breaking law and threatening to break law].

Naivaluwaqa stated: "We firmly believe that we can win our tourism market and other investors back into the country only be restoring democracy in Fiji".

Tourist arrival figures have continued to fall from January this year. It is expected that the trend will continue for many months. This is despite the millions of dollars which the regime has spent in attracting tourists to Fiji.

In contrast, tourist arrivals in Fiji had reached an all high of over 400,000 visitors during the governance of the People's Coalition, and the forecast for tourism was very positive. Tourism projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars were in the pipeline by May last year. None of these have taken off now.

Meanwhile the regime has announced that it is guaranteeing $21.6m loans for Air Pacific. The regime stated that the "credit facility is part of Air Pacific' s plans to stay viable following to downturn after the May 2000 events, the rise in jet fuel prices and the continuing rise in US dollar".

The regime also states that "the May 2000 events has had a significant negative impact on the financial performance of Air Pacific resulting in a $28million loss despite a $30.4 million profit recorded at the end of financial year ending March 2000."


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