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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Sept. 28) - Only 40 percent of the tourism dollar stays in Fiji, says Minister for Tourism Tomasi Vuetilovoni.

Speaking at a press conference to commemorate World Tourism Day yesterday, he said 60 percent of Fiji's tourism earnings "leaked" because a lot of hotels were still sourcing food supplies from overseas.

"I have been urging the hotel operators to use as much local produce as possible," Vuetilovoni said.

However, he said hoteliers claimed that the quality and consistency of local food supply was not up to par.

But Vuetilovoni said this argument was no longer relevant because the quality of vegetables in the country was of a good standard.

"We just go down to the market place and we can see the quality of vegetables that we have. There is no problem with quality," he said.

Vuetilovoni said the problem was the consistency in the food supply.

"It's really the consistency of supply. But it's like the chicken and egg. If the hotels make a commitment that they will cater for supply then we can make sure that supply is there."

Vuetilovoni urged hoteliers to start sourcing at least 40 percent of their food supply locally so that a higher percentage of the tourism dollar could be retained in Fiji.

September 29, 2006

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