FIJI REPORTS UPSWING IN U.S. VISITORS

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Surge driven by large convention groups

By Nasik Swami SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, July 30, 2011) – Visitor arrivals from North America to Fiji increased rapidly last month which boosted business in Fiji's tourism sector.

Regional Director for Tourism Fiji Ili Matatolu said Fiji is enjoying a resurgence in popularity as a venue for the lucrative North American meetings, incentive and conference business.

Matatolu said Fiji overcame strong international opposition to host the huge US-based LagasseSweet Group.

"The event saw more than 400 of the international distribution company’s customers, one of the biggest US groups seen in Fiji in four years, enjoying a five day stay," she said.

Matatolu said winning the opportunity to stage the LagasseSweet event was a major score for the national tourist office given that the company has traditionally chosen African, Asian, Middle Eastern and European venues for its incentive events.

"This is one of the biggest North American groups we have seen since 2007 when we hosted the 1300-strong Edward Jones incentive group," she said.

Matatolu said despite the economic downturn the US incentive market is making a comeback particularly in the areas of insurance, finance, IT and the pharmaceutical industry.

"We already have several smaller groups confirmed for the remainder of the year and two further large groups constituting 395 and 358 participants already confirmed for April 2012 so it would appear Fiji is very much back in vogue in the North American market," she said.

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