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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 23) - A new wharf to replace the existing Queens Wharf in Fiji’s capital, Suva is being eyed to host cruise liners in future.

The wharf, expected to cost around FJ$500 million [US$319 million], should begin construction next year and will be in full operation in 2012, says Captain Cris Marshall, the chief executive of Fiji Ports Corporation Limited.

Marshal explains that the container yard at the Queens Wharf will be moved to the Rokobili site at Walu Bay to accommodate the changes.

"Rokobili should be fully operational as a shipping wharf by 2012 and we are looking at gradually developing it into a major container terminal after the wharf is being built."

He adds that the Kings Wharf in Fiji’s second city, Lautoka will also be turned into a cruise ship facility, hosting shops and other services to tourist.

"Take for instance the Darling Harbor in Sydney where at one time that place was a huge shipping area and now the only ship you’ll find there are passenger ships and all the rest of the land has been developed into restaurants and shops. That’s the kind of concept we want to achieve here in Fiji in the next three to four years."

With 550 port of calls in the South Pacific and about US$33 million [FJ$52 million] spent by these tourists on shores, the cruise segment of the tourism industry in Fiji is expected to create a lot of commercial activities in Suva City.

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