New flights put Fiji on track for record visitors

Flights to Fiji from Hamilton and Palmerston North have helped boost the number of Kiwis heading there by over 50 per cent, the Fiji Visitors' Bureau says.

New Fiji tourism figures show there were 40,598 New Zealand visitors in the six months ending in June, compared with 27,144 during the same period last year.

There were 12,180 visitors during the month of June, compared to 7909 at the same time last year.

Director of the Fiji Visitors' Bureau in New Zealand, Paresh Pant, said Fiji was on track to end with an all-time record year of 90,000 visitors.

Mr Pant said flights from Hamilton, Palmerston North and Christchurch started earlier this year, resulting in significant increases in people from those areas going to Fiji. Visitors from Bay of Plenty and Palmerston North had since increased by about 90 per cent.

He said another reason for the increase was low-price travel packages and increased branding by the bureau.

Although Fiji coped with the growth, the industry needed to be careful not to over-promote the island.

"We don't want to become another Bali."

- NZPA

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