The Bainimarama Government’s free education initiative will “lift up the game” of Fiji’s tourism industry, said Attorney-General and Minister for Tourism, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
The Minister made this comment while opening the inaugural Fijian Tourism Expo yesterday at the Sheraton Resort on Denerau, explaining that Fiji’s tourism operators will benefit from a well-trained and well educated workforce.
“In five years time, we should not have any child that comes out of school without at least a Year 13 education,” he said.
He said that Government loans extend to hospitality and catering courses as well, adding that the program could assist Fijians currently working in the tourism industry who wanted to go back to university to further their education, upgrade their skills and improve their career prospects.
The Minister also took the opportunity to highlight the Government’s Fijian Made/Buy Fijian campaign to the group of international buyers present at the Expo.
He said that genuine Fijian Made products are now certified to let customers know that what they are buying is made in Fiji, by Fijians, with Fijian materials.
“Tourists are looking for authentic souvenirs as opposed to something that’s imported,” he explained.
“To us, tourism is not simply about tourists coming in, staying in the hotels, and then leaving. We also want them to spend their money on Fijian products,” he said.
The Attorney-General gave the industry an update on the planned $100 million upgrade of Nadi Airport as well as the four-lane road project out of the Airport, which is scheduled to begin in July.
The Attorney-General ended his speech with a call to the industry and its international partners to provide Tourism Fiji with suggestions and feedback for improving its services.
“This is a partnership – collaboration. We want that collaboration to be beneficial for all of us,” he said.