Fiji woos Indian tourists
May 12, 2007 - 4:56:12 PM
New Delhi, May 12 - A high-level delegation from Fiji is currently in India to promote the south Pacific Ocean island as a preferred destination for Indian tourists, promising Fiji 'has so much more'.
The delegation led by Mahendra Pal Chaudhry, minister for finance, national planning and sugar industry, addressed a consortium of Indian tour operators organised by the Indian Association of Tour Operators - here Saturday.
'The governments of Fiji and India have closely engaged on many levels and have developed cooperation in key areas such as agriculture, trade, ICT -, health, pharmaceuticals as well as tourism,' Chaudhry told the gathering in a glittering ceremony.
'During my visit here I will endeavour to further progress and strengthen bilateral cooperation in these vital areas in conjunction with my counterparts in the government of India,' he added.
In 2005, Fiji and India had formalised an agreement on cooperation in enhancing the tourism sectors of both the countries.
'The agreement envisages that a joint tourism committee would be formed in the near future to explore avenues of enhancing trade and tourism relations between Fiji and India,' Chaudhry, who was also Fiji's first Indo-Fijian prime minister, said.
'At a government-to-government level, Fiji and India are looking towards identifying and addressing impediments which hinder tourism development between the two countries.'
Adding that Fiji has an Air Services Agreement with India, he said: 'However, my government will endeavour to upgrade this to an open skies agreement, similar to the one India has in place with the US and the UK and is currently negotiating with ASEAN.'
According to estimates, over seven million Indians travelled abroad and the outbound travel from the country is growing at a rate of 20 percent per year.
'A considerable proportion of outbound travellers are going to Australia and New Zealand. We want to encourage these travellers to look further south. Why not come to Fiji where we can offer not only the same attractions as other destinations but so much more?' he emphasised.
In terms of investment opportunities, he said industries in Fiji are growing and he insisted more and more Indian investors to explore opportunities of doing business there.
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