A DOUBLE digit growth of 29.4 per cent in Chinese arrivals to Fiji was recorded in the first quarter of this year against the December quarter of 2017.
China is the fourth largest source market for Fiji’s tourism industry, which is 8.3 per cent of Fiji’s total arrivals as of the first quarter of this year falling behind Fiji’s traditional destinations – Australia, New Zealand and the US.
According to the South Pacific Tourism Organisation’s (SPTO) quarterly review of tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2018, Chinese arrivals to Fiji reached 14,221 from the 10,950 arrivals noted in the December quarter last year.
It also noted a 5.5 per cent growth when compared with the same quarterly period in 2017.
A lucrative Fijian outbound tourism market, the country’s solid growth in its Chinese arrivals also contributed to the region’s arrivals from China bouncing back by 21.8 per cent to 40,027 following the 17.6 per cent slump in the previous quarter.
The solid outcome was also triggered by a remarkable maximum surge in Chinese arrivals to French Polynesia by more than three fold.
Cook Islands 29.3 per cent and PNG at 26.8 per cent with moderate rise from Timor Leste, Vanuatu, Palau and Samoa also attributed to this favourable performance.
Chinese Tourists by Destination and Share, Quarter 1, 2018. Picture: SPTO
The upturn partly reflected the high Chinese international outbound travel demand boosted by China’s strong and solid economic growth of 6.8 per cent in the First Quarter.
On market shares, the two top Chinese destinations, Palau and Fiji accounted for 71 per cent of the total arrivals from this market, each with 35.5 per cent share.
French Polynesia, the runner up accounted for 7.8 per cent whilst PNG represented 7.2 per cent.
Earlier this year, Tourism Fiji had appointed a Chinese national as its trade partnership manager for Greater China.
Based in Shanghai, Zhao Qin joined a team led by regional manager Greater China, Vincent Zheng in boosting arrivals out of China into Fiji.
Tourism Fiji has also capitalised on the growth from China along with its stakeholders through several initiatives such as the addition of direct charter services from China.
Companies such as Rosie Holidays had earlier partnered with the country’s national airline Fiji Airways for Chinese charters to Hangzhou, boosting the market even further.