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SUVA (July 1, 1997 - RADIO AUSTRALIA) ---Tourism throughout the South Pacific has recorded strong growth in the past year, except in French Polynesia, where a decline in arrivals has been attributed to lingering worries about nuclear testing.

The Tourism Council of the South Pacific says the number of visitors to the region rose by 6.1 percent, to just over 866,000.

Fiji recorded the biggest increase, of 6.3 percent. Other countries which performed well include Western Samoa, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and Papua New Guinea. But visitors to French Polynesia slumped more than 6.5 percent, to nearly 161,000. Tourist numbers also declined in Tonga, Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands, and Niue.

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