SUVA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Fiji is expected to receive at least 500,000 foreign tourists this year, said a Fijian official on Tuesday.
The figures on tourism are looking comfortable and half a million tourists are expected to visit the island nation this year, Fiji's Permanent Secretary for Tourism Shaheen Ali was quoted as saying by the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC).
"For the first half of this year, we have recovered over half our tourism numbers from the same period in 2019. June arrivals were 73 percent of the same month pre-pandemic. By the end of 2022, we are expecting at least 500,000 visitors, with a full recovery expected by 2024," he said.
Fiji's tourism industry is now in a very good place, he said, adding that Fiji's economy is projected to grow by 12.4 percent this year, fuelled by travel and tourism.
The tourism industry, which accounts for about 40 percent of Fiji's gross domestic product and employs approximately 150,000 people, directly and indirectly, is the backbone of the economy and the biggest foreign exchange earner.
Fiji, an island nation with a population of around 900,000, received more than 800,000 foreign tourists per year before the pandemic.
In May, Tourism Fiji launched its Corporate Plan 2022-2024, setting a clear direction for the industry and its partners over the next few years.
The plan is a roadmap to take the industry towards the overarching target of reaching visitor expenditure of 3 billion Fijian dollars (around 1.36 billion U.S. dollars) by the end of 2024. ■