Monday, 9 January 2023: The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA) Board today welcomed the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Hon. Viliame Gavoka and Assistant Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Hon. Alitia Bainivalu.

The FHTA has been a long-standing partner of the Ministry of Tourism – as the peak body serving as the voice of the tourism industry.

In welcoming the Ministers, FHTA President, Mr Brian Kirsch extended FHTA’s congratulatory remarks, adding the organisation was excited to have someone well versed with the industry. Mr Kirsch took the opportunity to provide an overview of the industry’s recovery and the important role public private partnership will play in championing the growth of the industry in the immediate to medium term.

“As an industry, we want to be employers of choice and environment champions. We are firm believers in improving the economy and the lives of ordinary Fijians with the multiplier effect tourism has. So we will continue to work with the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation to do so,” said Mr. Kirsch.

Addressing the FHTA Board, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation said it was wonderful to be back in the industry and shared the Government’s commitment to rebuilding the tourism and civil aviation sectors.

“The Government of the day looks at tourism as a saviour of the economy in the near term. With challenges to the global economy, a strong tourism industry will definitely help. So the commitment is there to support tourism and recovery has already been remarkable,” said Minister Gavoka.

He further added that with tourism and civil aviation now merged, the Government believes it’s important to strengthen the Ministry and increase dialogue with the private sector.

“We’ll bring in a greater element of consultation, and not just within the industry. We want to see broader participation and the Prime Minister is very inclusive this way. You’re private sector driven and we’ll keep it that way with policy and marketing support,” added Minister Gavoka.

The FHTA Chief Executive Officer, Ms Fantasha Lockington, together with the Board members, further shared key challenges and opportunities impacting the industry.

Minister Gavoka provided the Ministry’s reassurance of looking into a number of imminent challenges such as investments in inventory and human resources with the support of other Government agencies.