FIJI LANDOWNERS SEEK TOURISM KICKBACK

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SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, August 18) - The Fiji Visitors Bureau has supported moves by indigenous landowners to get compensated for the use of their ‘qoliqoli’ (fishing spots) by the tourism industry.

And despite Government shelving a strong proposal by resource owners to charge a levy to hotels, they have now secured agreements from smaller resorts, a move which has been frowned upon by Government but welcomed by the FVB.

The cornerstone of the country’s thriving tourism industry has always been scenic areas, on which resource owners are seeking to maximize their returns.

A proposal by resource owners for a Bed Tax, which could see the charging of an additional levy on hotel rooms, has received mixed reaction.

While most hotels have rejected this proposal outright for various reasons, some small resorts have supported the idea.

Two leading surf resorts, Tavarua and Namotu Island Resorts, have taken the bold step of contributing 5 percent of their gross annual receipts to resource owners there; a small contribution that is making a big difference.

The Fiji Visitors Bureau says any agreement between resource owners and hotels is encouraging for the industry, especially when both sides mutually benefit.

With the tourism industry’s gross earnings for the first four months of this year at $153 million and visitor arrivals up 21.7 percent, resources owners are hopeful they can be a part of the country’s largest foreign exchange earner while sustaining their resources at the same time.

August 19, 2004

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

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