Fiji Airways responds to continued Fiji-India visitor growth

Fiji is stepping up efforts to attract visitors from India, which has emerged as the island’s fastest growing source market.

Indian visitor numbers to Fiji more than doubled from 2010 to 2016. In 1H2017, visitor numbers from India were up another 28%.

India is now the ninth largest source market for Fiji’s tourism industry after Australia, New Zealand, the US, China, the UK, Canada, Korea and Japan. India has been the fastest growing of these nine markets so far in 2017.

Indian visitor numbers to Fiji more than doubled from 2010 to 2016. In 1H2017, visitor numbers from India were up another 28%.

Initiatives from Tourism Fiji and Fiji Airways to boost India-Fiji traffic have helped drive the growth.

Tourism Fiji has stepped up marketing activities in India as part of an overall drive to diversify Fiji’s visitor base and reduce its reliance on Australia, New Zealand and North America. Tourism Fiji held roadshows in six Indian cities in late July and early August which should lead to a further boost in Indian visitor numbers.

Meanwhile Fiji Airways boosted connectivity to India with the Apr-2016 launch of services to Singapore, a major hub for India traffic. Initially the new Nadi-Singapore flight did not generate significant India traffic. However, Fiji Airways subsequently retimed the departure from Singapore and forged a codeshare with Jet Airways to improve India connectivity. The codeshare with Jet Airways, which also covers Hong Kong-India routes, was implemented in Mar-2017.

Fiji Airways has roughly doubled its India bookings over the last two years. The flag carrier also has been able to increase its share of a fast growing and strategically important market. Fiji Airways now accounts for approximately half of all India-Fiji bookings, according to OAG Traffic Analyser data. Korean Air is the second largest competitor, accounting for approximately a 25% share of Fiji-India bookings.

Korean Air operates three weekly flights from Nadi to Seoul, where it offers connections to Mumbai and Delhi. Fiji Airways operates two weekly flights from Nadi to Singapore, where Jet Airways provides connections to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. Fiji Airways operates five weekly flights from Nadi to Hong Kong, where Jet Airways also provides connections to Delhi and Mumbai.

The surge in tourism is not the only driver of India-Fiji traffic but has contributed to most of the recent growth. There is also significant ethnic traffic between the two countries. Fiji has a large Indian population, consisting of more than 300,000 people – and approximately 40% of Fiji’s total population.

The Fiji-India market is still not big enough to support nonstop flights, which would be very expensive to operate given the long duration (14 to 15 hours). Southeast Asia is the ideal transit point but until Fiji Airways launched services to Singapore in 2016 there were no nonstop flights between Fiji and Southeast Asia. India connections was one of the main drivers in Fiji Airways’ decision to launch services to Singapore.

Fiji Airways Chief Marketing Officer Marc Cavaliere is delivering a Fiji Airways Keynote at the 2017 CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit, 1-2 August 2017. Find out more at centreforaviation.com/events