Koya: Regional effort needed for recovery

Tourism and agriculture were two critical sectors for the region, given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Minister Faiyaz Koya. Picture: FILE

Agritourism requires a collaborative approach from the industry, farmers and development partners.

These were the sentiments shared by the Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya, who delivered his remarks at the From Farm to Table – An Oceania Pasifika Experience Webinar yesterday.

He said tourism and agriculture were two critical sectors for the region, given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has definitely provided us an opportunity to look within and see how, as a region, we can develop ideas to support our industries,” he said.

“We can also learn from each other’s experience and instead of reinventing the wheel, we can borrow and incorporate ideas into our own domestic policies.

“Coming back to today’s webinar on agritourism, focuses on networking, innovation, marketing, diversification and value-adding.”

Mr Koya added the webinar was about creating a vital link between primary sectors, presenting hoteliers and farmers an opportunity to identify markets for locally-grown and organic produce for their biggest market – the tourism industry – in diversifying the visitor experience.

“As a region, we need to work on principles of restarting on a stronger, fairer and more sustainable footing.

“We know that the Pacific’s path to recovery hinges on mass vaccination. We know this because we can see bigger, more developed economies with greater vaccine access and rates, already travelling intraregionally.

“With pent up travel demand, even when we reach our collective goal of being vaccinated, we will need to be competitive.”

He said they would need to go well and beyond with what they traditionally offered and meet these demands while creating greater returns.

“We have a plan to return our economy to pre-COVID growth rates but we cannot do this alone, we need your support, we need you to play your part and we need this to be a regional effort.

“We need you to be innovative, introduce new products into the market, employ Fijians and your Government will be there to support you.”

The webinar was said to be a great way to share experiences, lessons, challenges and opportunities.

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