23 Feb 2015

Fiji eyes direct flights to China

10:15 am on 23 February 2015

Fiji's prime minister. Frank Bainimarama, says the national airline, Fiji Airways, is negotiating for direct flights to China and Singapore.

This is on the back of dramatic growth in the numbers of Chinese tourists to the country.

At Fiji's Excellence in Tourism Awards on Friday he said the country hosted 28,000 Chinese tourists in 2014, up from 4,000 just six years earlier.

He says Fiji got 692,000 visitors in total for the year, with more than half from Australia, and the New Zealand and American markets are growing but none near China's rate.

The prime minister says if Fiji Airways was flying into one of the mainland Chinese cities and to Singapore it would pay even more dividends.

A Fiji Airways plane

A Fiji Airways plane Photo: Supplied

He says Fiji has great hopes of growing the Indian market and wants to make travel from India easier and more affordable.

Mr Bainimarama says earnings are growing and tourism now represents 33 per cent of Fiji's gross domestic product and it employs about 13 percent of the total work force.