03 February 2006

Kiwis investing in Fiji property

Despite ongoing political instability, New Zealand tourists are thronging to Fiji in every growing numbers with visitor numbers expected to have topped 100,000 last year.

New Zealanders are not just going there to lie on the beach either - they're investing in holiday property.

Fijian Tourism Minister Pita Naa-Du-Vah, visiting New Zealand, says the number of Kiwis visiting his country has more than doubled from 49,000 in 2000 to about 108,000 last year.

The minister says there are a few reasons for the continuing rise in New Zealanders going to Fiji. He says the old relationship between the two countries has always been there from colonial times and is still very strong today.

He says with new opportunities for more investment in Fiji tourism, an "incredible number" of New Zealanders are investing in the sector, including in construction work.

The minister says New Zealand companies such as Fletchers are involved in construction work, working on roads.

But he says New Zealanders are also investing in hotels and villas in Fiji, and the double taxation arrangement Fiji has with New Zealand has helped New Zealanders who are buying holiday houses there.

Naa-Du-Vah says there were some bookings cancelled in early January amid political instability and he's here to give reassurance to the people of New Zealand and travel wholesalers that everything is well again in Fiji.

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