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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 21) – The number of New Zealanders coming to Fiji has fallen by nine per cent due to the current political situation, latest data from the New Zealand Bureau of Statistics state.

However, more New Zealanders arrived in Fiji in 2007 then in 2005 according to the same statistics released yesterday.

Data state that for the year ended May 2007, around 104,989 Kiwi's travelled to Fiji while around 102,291 Kiwi's took similar short-term trips in 2005. However, in 2006 around 110,026 New Zealanders arrived to Fiji.

The NZ Bureau of Statistics state this nine per cent decrease in departures to Fiji to "the political situation in that country".

New Zealand is Fiji's second largest tourist market with around 25 per cent of the market.

There are suggestions that other Pacific Island Countries have capitalised this nine per cent reduction of New Zealand visitors to Fiji.

"The Pacific Island destinations of the Cook Islands (up by 35 per cent) and Samoa (up by 34 per cent) continued to gain in popularity," a statement from the NZ Bureau of Statistics says.

"Cheaper airfares and increased competition between airlines flying to Pacific Islands resulted in more departures to a number of Pacific Island countries, including Samoa (up by 20 per cent), the Cook Islands (up by 10 per cent), Tonga (up by 24 per cent), Vanuatu (up by 25 per cent) and New Caledonia (up by 27 per cent).

"However, there were fewer departures to Fiji that has gone down by five percent," the Bureau notes.

Also interesting are the figures given on the number of Fiji Islanders who have travelled to New Zealand in the last three years.

Around 2602 Fiji Islanders went to New Zealand as residents in 2007 however this was a decrease from 2006 when 2709 Fiji Islanders migrated. 2005 figures show that 2480 went to New Zealand to reside.

For the year ending May 2007, 21,523 Fiji Islanders travelled to New Zealand as tourists. This was also a decrease from the 2006 figures when 21,626 Fiji Islanders went to New Zealand. 18,878 Fiji Islanders travelled to New Zealand in 2005.

Comparative Fiji Bureau of Statistics data still remains to be out of date with data available only up till 2004.

"There is serious delay in obtaining data from the Immigration System to compile Visitors and Residents Statistics. As a consequence Visitor Arrival Statistics has been delayed, but attempts are made to have the backlog cleared," the Fiji Statistics Bureau says.


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