TOURISM IN FIJI AND THE SOLOMON ISLANDS SLUMPS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (July 24, 2000 – Radio Australia)---South Pacific tourism operators say the political crises in Fiji and the Solomon Islands have turned many tourists off holidaying in the region.

The South Pacific Tourism Organization says up to one million tourists visit the South Pacific islands each year, but the overthrow of two governments since May has painted the entire region as unstable.

Organization vice chairman Francis Mortimer says in Fiji the flow of inbound tourists has slumped to 450 per day from an average 4,000 a day before the nation's political crisis erupted nine weeks ago.

The Fiji tourism industry puts lost revenue so far at $150 million, with 20,000 staff losing their jobs since the May 19th coup.

The much smaller tourism sector in the Solomons has ground to a halt since ethnic fighting spilled into the capital of Honiara.

Most major countries, including the United States and Britain, have warned citizens against visiting the two countries.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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