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Positive Outcome From Fiji Marine Industry Meeting With Government

By doina — last modified Mar 09, 2008 08:56 AM

Published: 2008-03-09 08:56:31
Topics: Cruising Information
Countries: Fiji

A meeting between the leading figures in Fiji's marine industry and the Fijian government to discuss the recent controversial restrictions on the length of stay of yachts in Fiji has resulted in a very positive outcome. It seems that the government is prepared to reconsider its position and reinstate the 12 month period (reduced to 3 months) as before.

Milika Marshall from Vuda Point Marina reports:

On Feb 18 after continuous letters to the Minister of Finance and key government departments, the Marine Operators Association requested a meeting with these departmental heads. Finance Minister Mr Chaudhary was present at this meeting as well as his CEO for the Fiji Customs Department. Vuda Point Marina, Musket Cove, Denarau Marina, Savusavu Marina, Robin Irwin of Savusavu and even the Mayor of Savusavu with others were present and after putting their submissions forward Chaudhary was quite impressed. The Customs Department in the West would be the key people in dealing with the yachting people as more yachts would come through here, a very small number would go to Suva if at all and Savusavu has sprung up as a good destination as well.

It seems Chaudhary may have been misinformed of problems being faced, he was certainly not aware of the bigger picture that the yachting industry does contibute to the local economy, money is distributed to a wider community not just one operator, and the longer the stay of the yachtie the more money that is generated into the country and this is also an example of foreign currency coming in.

In the last 3 years, the yachting industry has changed, owners are more willing to spend, have more to spend and we have seen an increase in catamarans in the last couple of years too.

At the end of the meeting, marine operators came away happy. The extension of the 3 months was guaranteed by Chaudhary, the association requested the return of 12 months as prior to this, he has assured the industry that he will give this back but would take a month to turn around as it has to go through cabinet. We are awaiting this decision in writing, but are very positive it will go ahead as we have all joined together as one industry that will work with the Customs and Finance Ministry to curb any illegal activities that come to light that we are aware of. This is our committment to the Customs Department that we will work together to ensure we all uphold the laws of the country.