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Backpackers represent 8 percent of visitors

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 5, 2010) - Statistics presented by Tourism Fiji indicate eight percent of visitor arrivals to Fiji are backpackers who have an average stay of nine nights in the country.

Tourism Fiji Chief Executive Officer Joe Tuamoto in his presentation during the Fiji Backpacker Forum said these backpackers spend on average, a total of FJ$655.71 [US$341.71] in Fiji.

He established top tourist areas in the country to be Nadi (25 percent), Coral Coast (19 percent), Mamanuca (16 percent) Denarau (13 percent) and with the capital Suva recording the least tourist activity (8 percent).

"What people want is to have a refreshing experience that rejuvenates their body, mind, spirit and relationships and what Fiji offers is the genuinely welcoming, hospitable, friendly, gracious and undemanding nature of people," he said.

Tuamoto also indicated Fiji’s natural tropical environment provides a beautiful and calming experience.

Fiji’s Tourism Minister and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum believes although tourists might choose backpacker accommodation for holidays, this does not indicate they are not big spenders.

Speaking during the launch, the minister said these are the sorts of negative connotations associated with backpackers.

"This is similar to people traveling in cheap airlines; people no longer want to have the flight experience but they want the destination experience and rather spend less in the aircraft and spend more at their destination," he said.

"Similarly, people may choose cheap territory for accommodation but that does not necessarily mean they are not big spenders and I think a huge differentiation needs to be made in this regard," Sayed-Khaiyum said.

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