Jul 15, 2010

Fijian veneer starting to show cracks

Published: 1:11PM Wednesday July 14, 2010

Fiji deteriorating as holiday  destination? (Source: Thinkstock)

Fiji has always been a popular spot for Kiwis looking for a cheap holiday, but travellers may be turning elsewhere due to a hike in airport taxes and deterioration in infrastructure.

Aviation commentator Peter Clark has just returned from the Pacific island and said hikes in airport taxes, price gouging and a lack of spending on infrastructure means it is not a destination he will return to in a hurry.

Clark took his family there and was surprised by the change since he had last visited.

He said the lack of infrastructure was astounding and he felt they were grossly overcharged for accommodation and food. As an example, he said one small scoop of ice cream cost around $6.50.

The Fiji government has also imposed a larger departure tax, raising it from $75 to $100 and Clark said this money is not going back into the country.

He also said with such good airline prices these days, hotels need to get back to real pricing rather than offering different deals and hiking up prices over school holidays.

"The seats are there and if we're not careful (people) are going to stop going there."

He said Air Pacific announced its largest loss yesterday, which is a sign of things to come.

New Zealand has always had an affinity with Fiji and many want to help the local people, but Clark believes this is not happening. He said the people of Fiji are not gaining anything as very little money is going back into their villages.

"Money is not going back to the people. It's our closest neighbour, the people are great and New Zealanders want to go there to support it, but I don't think we are supporting the locals."

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