Tourism arrivals in Fiji have reached a record high. In 2017, they rose to 842,884 (2016: 792,320), supported strongly by nautical tourism – cruise ships, yachts and super-yachts. While the Fijian government has prioritised the development of nautical tourism, there is still much to be done. Yachting is important to the diversification of Fiji’s tourism sector, but the industry is constrained by limited recognition and support.
This is partly due to a government focus on aviation tourism and a lack of evidence-based data to justify its involvement in the yachting industry and the key support services involved. In June 2018, MDF signed a partnership with Fiji’s two largest marinas, Port Denarau and Vuda, to undertake the first independent economic impact assessment on Fiji’s yachting industry. The assessment provides a comprehensive picture of the industry’s economic contribution, including direct and indirect employment creation; micro, small and medium sized enterprise opportunities; and local economic development.
The findings of The Economic impact of international yachting in Fiji report reveal that the yachting and the related support industries contribute a total of FJ$60.6 million to the Fijian economy each year. It is also one of the highest yielding tourism segments with an average spending of F$7,808 per person.
Although yachting arrival numbers are modest in comparison to cruise tourism, the 4,473 yachties that arrived in 2018 spent a total of F$34.9m on fuel, maintenance, dockage, food provisioning, restaurants and a range of other tourism activities. Economic benefits through yachting have also spread to remote communities that yachties travel to during their stay in Fiji.
The yachting industry assessment report provides a baseline and demonstrates the potential of the industry to become a key driver of foreign exchange and contributor to future tourism growth in the country. It is therefore crucial to develop the yachting industry and enhance its competitiveness, and this will require concerted efforts between government, the yachting industry, businesses, local communities, resource owners, and other key players.
The report recommends initiatives to support growth of the yachting industry in Fiji, including:
- Strategic and differentiated initiatives for developing the yacht and superyacht segments that focus on supporting growth, competitiveness and increasing market share;
- Incorporation of yachting tourism statistics in national tourism accounts to better track economic contribution and growth;
- Improved Government regulations and processes; and
- Establishment of a Fiji Marina Industry Group to improve national representation, engagement and drive future initiatives.
It is hoped that through the findings and recommendations of this report that national tourism industry stakeholders, including the Fijian government will take a deliberate decision to renew their commitment to increase opportunities for investment and development of the yachting industry which has demonstrated the capacity to deliver significant economic and social returns which support broad-based, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
Click on the button below to download The Economic Impact of International Yachting in Fiji report.