Fiji hotels pull back discounts

Fiji hotels pull back discounts
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Fiji’s hotel sector remains unfazed by growing tourism numbers to its South Pacific neighbours, according to the Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association.

President Dixon Seeto conceded that rival destinations were becoming more competitive, but insisted Fiji still had the upper hand.

“They have learnt from us, learnt to price product competitively and upgraded their product,” he told Travel Today. “But in Fiji we have a more mature product and there is more stuff you can do here.”

Seeto also referred to better air access as a major advantage for Fiji.

Meanwhile, guest arrivals this year had been “very strong,” he revealed, with growth of around 8%.

Last year, Fiji welcomed a record 675,000 visitors, exceeding the previous year’s record of 630,000.

Australians accounts for 50% of arrivals while New Zealanders stand at around 16%.

Strong growth and solid occupancies were seeing hoteliers turn away from heavy discounting, with Seeto branding it “unnecessary”.

“Most hotels are getting back to a normal rate structure,” he said. Discounting is now used only “when needed” in off-peak periods or when big groups are involved.

Instead operators are increasingly looking to the MICE sector to build sales in the low season.

Although, direct sales are “coming”, Fiji’s hotels continue to be “wholesale driven,” according to Seeto.

“When a wholesaler gives you so much traffic, they can help you compete in terms of prices,” he said.

He revealed that, on average, popular hotels with “good wholesale supply” are recording occupancies of around 80%.

Meanwhile, the backpacker market, which accounts for around 10% of visitors, has dipped slightly due to a restructuring of round the world fares.

“Fiji used to be a free stopover and a lot of backpackers were taking advantage of that,” he said.

Seeto applauded the work of Tourism Fiji saying it was “doing enough” but urged the government to increase its budget.

“Much more” is needed to assist Air Pacific with marketing over the next year, he said.

“New markets need more money,” he insisted.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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