Big potential for sport, retirement, and medical tourism in Fiji, ADB says

May 7, 2024 | Blog, News

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has outlined a strategic vision for Fiji, outlining the potential for diversified tourism offerings beyond the traditional holiday sector. In its latest Asian Development Outlook report, the ADB highlights Fiji’s impressive economic growth, largely propelled by the resurgence of the tourism industry.

Fiji’s GDP surged by 7.8 per cent, primarily fuelled by the robust performance of the tourism sector. The report notes a significant increase in visitor arrivals in 2023, surpassing pre-pandemic levels and reaching close to a million tourists. While the majority of visitors hailed from Australia, New Zealand, and North America, there’s a growing recognition of the need to expand tourism offerings to sustainably support economic growth.

According to the report, Fiji’s tourism sector faces challenges related to limited accommodation options, particularly during peak seasons. The ADB underscores the importance of easing impediments to domestic and foreign investment in tourism, enhancing tourist infrastructure, and exploring alternative forms of tourism.

One notable suggestion is the exploration of sports tourism, exemplified by Fiji’s participation in the Super Rugby Pacific competition. Hosting such events not only boosts tourism numbers but also stimulates economic activity during the offseason.

The ADB also advocates for Fiji to tap into the burgeoning market of medical tourism. With neighbouring Pacific countries often seeking medical treatment in distant locations like Asia, Fiji has the opportunity to establish itself as a regional healthcare hub. However, this necessitates the development of privately operated hospitals and advanced diagnostic facilities, which could attract substantial private sector investment.

The Indian Government has recently announced the setting up of a 100-bed super-speciality hospital and medical facility near Suva, that has the potential to serve not only Fijians but also neighbouring Pacific Island countries.

To alleviate the strain on hotel availability and prices around the main island of Viti Levu, the report suggests spreading tourism activity to other areas like Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second-largest island. Upgrading transportation infrastructure and promoting destinations such as Taveuni and Sun Coast could contribute to a more even distribution of tourism benefits across Fiji.

The ADB’s recommendations align with Fiji’s efforts to diversify its economy and foster sustainable growth. By embracing sports, retirement, and medical tourism alongside traditional leisure offerings, Fiji aims to solidify its position as a premier destination in the Asia-Pacific region.