29 May 2007

Fiji economist says financial outlook gloomy unless tourism picks up

3:57 pm on 29 May 2007

An economist in Fiji says unless the tourism industry picks up during the next couple of months, the financial outlook for the country will continue to be gloomy.

Dr Biman Prasad, the head of the School of Economics at the University of the South Pacific, says there is some growth in the export sector but not a lot and the overall trade deficit is increasing, not narrowing.

He also says the tourism sector had expected to recover very, very quickly following the coup but this hasn't happened.

Dr Prasad says the interim government is already predicting a contraction of the economy by 2 percent but this may worsen if tourism doesn't pick up.

"If in the next three months, which potentially are the peak season months, June, July, August - if we don't make a turn-around in the tourist numbers back to Fiji, then it is going to worsen the economic situation further."

Dr Biman Prasad.