A new study released earlier this month by the Australian Government-funded Market Development Facility (MDF) provides the first-ever independent economic assessment of Fiji’s yachting industry and the important economic contribution it makes to the Fijian economy.
In a partnership with Fiji’s leading marinas, Port Denarau and Vuda, MDF commissioned an international consultancy firm, AMSTEC Pty Ltd, to carry out the independent assessment.
The study highlighted that in 2018, the yachting sector generated FJD61 Million. With its modest visitor arrivals at 4,473 arriving on an estimated 721 visiting yachts, it is one of highest yielding tourism segments with an annual average spend for each visitor per trip of FJD7,808, more than three-times the national average of FJD2,067 quoted in the Fijian Tourism 2021 Plan
An estimated 54 superyachts arrived into Fiji in 2018 generating an average spend of FJD167,000 per vessel and an annual overall contribution of FJD9 Million. The economic contribution by the sector is even more pronounced as yachts sail to many remote islands and communities within the Fiji group that tourists do not normally travel to and also tend to spend more on locally sourced food, supplies and repairs compared to normal tourists spending.
The report quotes that FJD35 million of foreign exchange was spent directly into Fijian businesses for fuel, maintenance, dockage, food provisioning, restaurants and bars, cultural visits and a range of other tourism activities.
A national tourism stakeholder consultation was held in Nadi in November to discuss the preliminary findings in the draft report. Positive feedback was received from attendees which included executives from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Tourism Fiji, South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), Fiji Bureau of Statistics, Office of the Prime Minister, Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority, and key private sector companies in the yachting sector.
According to Matthew Stoeckel, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Fiji, “the preliminary findings are very insightful, and the economic contribution of the yachting sector is impressive. The report shifts the rhetoric from visitor arrival numbers to the importance of tourist yield associated with the market.”
SPTO’s Chief Executive Officer, Chris Cocker, highlighted that “yachting is a high-yield low impact niche tourism segment that is not only good for Fiji but the Pacific, as they sail through the Pacific they bring economic benefits to multiple countries and directly to communities, so this type of tourism should also be supported by regional organisations and development partners.”
In recognition of the importance of the study, Cynthia Rasch, General Manager, Port Denarau, said the Marina was delighted to partner with MDF to carry out an independent study. “The yachting industry plays a vital role to the growth of Fiji’s economy and this study will indicate their measurable economic, employment, social and environmental contributions to the local communities.”
Adam Wade, General Manager, Vuda Marina echoed Rasch’s comments, “Many people are unaware of the diverse nature of the yachting industry and how there are numerous businesses that have been created organically to meet the needs of this vibrant and emerging community of adventurous travelers.”
John Feakes, Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, said that the Australian Government, through MDF, was pleased to be able to support relevant and evidence-based research that should help all tourism yachting stakeholders to grow this important tourism market. He added further “In Australia, yachting tourism brings very tangible benefits to remote communities in Australia that have limited tourism infrastructure and would otherwise not be able to benefit from this growing industry. This report clearly shows that there’s already a vibrant and established yachting market in Fiji but much more can be done to truly harness its full potential.”
MDF Fiji Country Director Mujaddid Mohsin said “MDF is pleased to partner with Fiji’s two largest Marinas in producing the yachting study to support more evidence-based policy dialogue and encourage new industry growth initiatives by local stakeholders.”
The report can be downloaded here.