23 Feb 2006

Concern raising drinking age in Fiji could dent backpacker market

10:18 am on 23 February 2006

Fiji's tourism industry fears that the government's new Liquor Bill could cripple the growing youth tourism market, especially backpacker operations.

This is because the new legislation raises the legal age for drinking alcohol from 18 years to 21.

The Fiji Times says the Fiji Visitors Bureau and the Fiji Backpackers Association have expressed grave reservations.

The Bureau says the imposing this measure would have a huge impact and could affect the industry's move towards becoming a billion dollar business by the end of next year.

The Bureau's chief executive, Bill Gavoka, says young tourists would find it very difficult to come to Fiji and be prohibited from drinking alcohol during their vacation.