20 Apr 2007

Fiji tourism body against armed troops in streets

3:26 pm on 20 April 2007

The Fiji Visitors Bureau says the tourism industry could be damaged if soldiers were re-deployed at roadside checkpoints.

Armed soldiers were withdrawn from the checkpoints and police took over the positions in line with the interim administration's plan to move towards normalisation.

The Retailers Association is now calling for the military to be returned to the posts to maintain security.

But the Visitor Bureau's, Bill Gavoka, says this would not only damage the tourism industry, but the country as a whole.

"One aspect of our recovery that continues to be a challenge is the travel advisory by the governments about travel to Fiji. And most of the high commissions and embassies in Fiji like to see a normalcy and when they see troops manning checkpoints, it does affect the travel advisories for Fiji."

Mr Gavoka says he can't imagine visitors would feel secure if they had to pass military road checkpoints.