Foreign tourist arrivals hit 2.2M in 1st quarter
NADI, Fiji — Foreign tourist arrivals rose 7.6 percent in the first quarter to 2.2 million, according to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat who expects the country to hit another record-high number of tourists from abroad for the entire year.
On the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank’s 52nd Annual Meeting, Puyat told reporters on Saturday that arrivals from January to March exceeded the 2.05 million posted during the same period last year.
In March alone, foreign arrivals increased 11.1 percent to 714,309 from 642,757 a year ago, Puyat said, citing the latest Department of Tourism (DOT) figures.
Romulo-Puyat said having “a lot of direct flights” by carriers such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia helped boost tourist arrivals.
“In fact, when we met with these airlines, they told us that they have more new routes [to-and-fro] Japan and Australia,” she said.
So far this year, South Korea remained the top source of foreign tourists, followed by China, the United States, Japan and Australia, she said.
Puyat said the first-quarter figures showed that the country was “on track” to hit the DOT’s 8.2-million target for 2019.
“Last year, we were 7.1 million. We considered that an accomplishment — it was the first time we breached the 7-million mark,” she said.
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