FIJI COURTS FIRST CASINO TO BOOST TOURISM

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Government will control negative impacts

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 29, 2010) – The Fiji interim government has invited expressions of interest to set up the country’s first casino as part of an effort to broaden tourism.

The Chairman of Tourism Fiji, Patrick Wong, says a new casino will attract more visitors who will stay longer.

He says traditionally tourists are from Australia and New Zealand and he hopes the casino development will produce more of a geographic mix of visitors, spread throughout the year.

"Our tourism season is very, very seasonal, where 50 per cent of our arrivals for the year arrive between the months of June to October. We’re looking at new emerging markets. We’re looking at north. Emerging markets such as China, Europe, India and also the US market. So that we can actually level the trough period which means consistent supply of visitor arrivals into Fiji."

Patrick Wong says he is confident the casino development will not erode Fiji’s tourism brand and any potential negative impacts on society will be managed by the government.

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