10 Nov 2008

Global financial crisis begins to hit Pacific tourism

5:47 am on 10 November 2008

An umbrella organisation for South Pacific tourism operators says it appears that the global uncertainty is now having an obvious impact on visitor numbers in the region, especially those from long haul markets.

Popular destinations like French Polynesia and the Cook Islands have both noticed a drop in visitor numbers from Europe and North America.

South Pacific travel, is the mandated inter-governmental organisation for the tourism sector in the South Pacific.

Its chief executive, Tony Everitt, says, visitors from Europe, the United States, and Japan, which are the 3 key long haul markets, has certainly been quite soft.

"And we have actually seen airlines respond to that the last few months in terms of cutting back some of these services in that area."

But Tony Everitt says Pacific countries should still be vigilant and continue to promote in the United States and in Europe as and they will always be important markets.