23 Mar 2011

Pacific body says reviving Japanese tourism put back further by tsunami

7:08 pm on 23 March 2011

A South Pacific tourism body says the Japanese earthquake and tsunami could hinder efforts to boost the numbers of visitors from that country.

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation says visitors from Japan accounted for 57,000 of the 1.3 million visitors to the region in 2009.

But it's chief executive Ilisoni Vuibreketi says there has been less impact on tourism in the South Pacific than may have been expected from the disaster in Japan.

He says that's in part because numbers had already been declining, particularly to Tahiti and Fiji, because of changes to direct flights.

But he says the tsunami could still have effects on the industry

"It will certainly effect the work that we are doing in trying to revive the Japanese market for the South Pacific tourist destinations. We are changing our strategies towards that, we need to put in more resources and more time to revive the Japanese market."

South Pacific Tourism Organisation chief executive Ilisoni Vuibreketi