Poor load factor has resulted in flight cancellations to Nadi in the recent weeks.
Airport sources have disclosed that V Australia cancelled about 10 Sydney-Nadi flights last month and seven so far this month.
“Even at the ridiculously low $199 one way fares, the seats are not being filled and flights have had to be called off,” said an airport executive.
Continental Airlines is experiencing similar downturn in business and is believed to be contemplating cutting back its twice weekly Nadi service to one.
Air Pacific and Air New Zealand are said to be in a similar predicament.
With a general slackness in business, resorts are now offering special rates to attract local residents. Advertisements have been appearing daily in our newspapers, stepped up for the Easter holidays, announcing special accommodation and meal deals for couples and families.
In a recent media release, the Minister for Tourism made mention of the huge increase (37.6%) in visitor arrivals in January 2010 compared to January 2009. He failed to qualify the figures, making people believe that tourist arrivals in January had soared when the truth is that he was comparing it against January 2009 figures when tourist numbers were really down because of the nationwide flooding which had caused widespread damage.
The comparison should have been with a like month and had the Tourism Minister compared January 2010 visitor arrivals with that of January 2008, he would have, contrary to his expectations, found that the numbers were down.
Likewise, February figures just released also show an increase, up 11.5% against that of February 2009 which was also a depressed month following on from the devastation wreaked by the January floods.
In its November 2009 issue of the Pacific Economic Monitor Highlights, the ADB makes the following comment on Fiji Tourism:
“Fiji Islands has passed the turning point in tourism trends. Australian departures for Fiji Islands this year were down on a year-on-year basis in June. But departures rose in July (up 25.3% from 2008) and August (12.6%).
A significant and sustained recovery in Australian tourism would be fortuitous for Fiji Islands’ tourism industry. However, tourism volumes do not tell the whole story, and expectations are that tourism receipts will remain flat given heavy discounting in the industry.”