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Fears for Fiji tourism as unrest hits

Fiji’s military has taken control of the capital Suva today in a move seen as an attempt to force the elected government out of office. The situation is being closely watched by holidaymakers who may be affected by the political unrest.In Australia, travel group Flight Centre is saying that holidaymakers are unlikely to be affected by current events on the island nation.

“The tourists are fine because they are on one side of the island far away from where the trouble is happening in the capital Suva,” the chairman of Fiji’s Tourism Action Group (TAG), Damend Gounder told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

“The resorts are unaffected by roadblocks and there is no military presence here on this side.”

According to the Times newspaper, though, Nadi, the tourism hub in the west of the main island of Viti Levu, had been affected by roadblocks.

Qantas Airways told the AAP that the unrest had not had a significant impact on the sale of holiday packages. But a Qantas spokesman said 35 Fiji holiday packages sold by Qantas during November had been cancelled.


“The economy is already suffering, tourism fuels this economy, already people have been checking out of hotels in droves and cancelling holidays,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Phillipa McDonald reported on from Suva.

I was speaking to one luxury resort owner and he said he hasn’t had any inquiries for the first three months of next year.

Tourism is the leading industry with about 445,000 visitors in 2004.