The Pacific region has recorded a seven (7) percent increase in the number of visitor arrivals according to the first quarter tourism review for 2015.
This was demonstrated in a review produced by the European Union supported “Pacific Regional Tourism Capacity Building Programme” (PRTCBP) implemented by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), providing statistics and data from 12 Pacific Island Countries (PICs).
380,870 tourists visited the region in the first quarter of 2015, compared to 355, 601visitors in the same period in 2014 with Fiji (143, 447), Palau (48, 647) and Papua New Guinea (42, 678) recording the highest visitor arrivals for this quarter.
According to the review, overall the PICs recorded positive growths although the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands and Vanuatu experienced a drop in their visitor arrivals. The highest growth during this period was recorded by Palau (72.7%).
SPTO Chief Executive Ilisoni Vuidreketi said the review provides accurate data for planning which is imperative for growth and development of the tourism sector.
“This review provides a fair analysis of the individual PICs tourist arrivals and is a good gauge of future trends in our region,” he added.
“The gradual increase of visitor arrivals in Palau is commendable and is attributed to direct flights from mainland China. Overall, the visitor arrivals into the South Pacific remained on a steady growth particularly from the major source markets of Australia and New Zealand and this is very encouraging,”Mr. Vuidreketi continued.
According to the report, Australian tourists continue to dominate the visitor arrivals into the South Pacific. A total of 115, 581 Australian tourists visited the region during the review with Fiji, dominating the market share at 58.4% with 67, 552 visitors and Papua New Guinea at 17.4% with 20, 110 visitors.
Meanwhile, 41,679 Chinese tourists visited the region showing a 151% positive growth compared to the same quarter in 2014. Of this, 63% visited Palau while 23% visited Fiji. Chinese visitor arrivals to Palau have increased significantly from December 2014 due to the direct flights from Hong Kong and Macau.