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Examining ‘economically, ecologically and culturally suitable’ tourism

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 1, 2009) – Tourism on native land has the potential to become the highest earner for the Native Lands Trust Board income base in the next five years.

The board is exploring the best way forward of how tourism on native land could be expanded to generate more commercial wealth for landowners.

NLTB representative Reijeli Taylor said tourism, although being a fragile industry, had the potential to become the most important export earner not only for Fiji but for NLTB and landowners

Ms Taylor made the comments while presenting a paper on behalf of the NLTB at the Yasawa Awesome Assisted Resorts Development Forum organised by Awesome Adventures yesterday.

She said land tenure in Fiji by 2007 was 88 per cent native, 8 per cent freehold and four per cent State land.

She said in 2006, 230 tourism leases were issued and rent collected was $3.8million [US$1.7 million] while by September 2007, 243 leases were issued.

"Strategic planning is now addressed with the newly-created tourism unit of which the new unit has recently formulated a new tourism policy," she said.

"NLTB, on behalf of the landowners and in accordance with government's national development objective, will continue to actively courage tourism oriented commercial developments on native land.

"The new tourism policy will see its vision which is that Fijian people, tenants and other stakeholders of native land become equitable commercial partners in Fiji's tourism industry which economically ecologically and culturally suitable."

Ms Taylor said the policy's goals were to explore the best way forward of how tourism on native land could be expanded to generate more commercial wealth for landowners.

It also plans a coordinated approach to tourism development and increase Fijian socio-economic equity participation in all aspects of tourism industry.

She said the policy would also work on increasing general awareness, promote environmental conservation, sustainability, heritage protection and enhancement.

"NLTB will always whenever possible base the tourism industry firmly on the Fijian cultural and environmental heritage," she said.

"Develop areas on native land in line with national tourism development plan and work towards packaging the identified areas."

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