Fiji relies heavily on the tourism industry. While the country also earns money from exports such as sugar, clothing, and Fiji Water, it is the tourist dollar that really helps to keep the country afloat.
Over the years, the number of tourists visiting Fiji has shown a steady increase. If you look at the official stats, you will see that numbers dipped each time there was a coup (now that's a surprise), but overall, the trend has been upwards, and all indications are for this trend to continue.
Provisional numbers show 76,598 visitors arrived into Fiji in June 2017. This number is a record for the month of June with an increase of 4.8% compared to a year earlier.
There were increases in the number of visitors from the following countries; New Zealand [1,757 or 10.4% to 18,590]; the United States of America [966 or 11.8% to 9,167]; Rest of Asia [291 or 16.1% to 2,098]; China [139 or 3.9% to 3,712]; Pacific Islands [126 or 3.1% to 4,152]; the United Kingdom [110 or 8.1% to 1,465]; Canada [103 or 13.5% to 865]; South Korea [87 or 13.5% to 733] and Australia [37 or 0.1% to 32,833].
However, decreases were recorded in the number of visitors from Other Countries [down 55 or 17.4% to 262]; Continental Europe [down 41 or 1.7% to 2,314] and Japan [down 34 or 7.7% to 407].
Visitors arriving for holiday purposes accounted for 75.6% of total arrivals, 9.4% came to visit their friends or relatives, 2.9% came for business purposes, while 12.1% visited Fiji for other reasons.
Australia is Fiji's biggest tourist market by far, accounting for almost half the total numbers. NZ is the next largest, although the figure is only 1/3 of the number from Australia. Next is America, which is half the figure from NZ. So these three countries make up about 75% of the market. The next largest is the UK, with perhaps 3% of the total figure.
And where they go to:
I don't have any officially released stats for this, but common sense would indicate that the bulk of the tourists frequent one of three areas.
There are several very good reasons for this.
1. Some of the best beaches in Fiji can be found in the Yasawas (although not necessarily the best beaches...for those you might visit the more remote areas such as Kadavu, which is also famous for it's proximity to the astrolabe reef).
2. The tourism infrastructure is well set up for these areas. Regular ferries to the island groups, airport transfers to the Coral Coast, with high quality resorts in these places.
3. These are likely to be the places most heavily promoted by your travel agent.
But tourism is opening up to some of the less accessible regions of Fiji. It takes more of an effort to get there, and there can be more expense involved with extra flights, ferries and so on. Remember that there are in excess of 300 islands that make up Fiji, and the tourists tend to congragate on only a fraction of these.
Some of the more remote islands never see a western person from one week to the next, so there is plenty of scope to explore beyond the well known locations, and meet the real Fijian people.