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Casinos to boost tourism revenue in Fiji, official says

Posted Date: Monday, 11-Jun-2012

SUVA, June 10 (Xinhua) -- A Fijian tourism official on Sunday highlighted the important role to be played by the multi-million dollar casino in the tourism industry, saying it will bring about a new market segment in the economic sector.

Dixon Seeto, President of the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association said Sunday the much looked forward to casino resort which includes a 1,500 seat capacity convention center will be able to cater for large conferences which no other hotels or resorts could cater for in Fiji at the moment.

He added apart from just being a casino, it has major benefits for the whole tourism industry and economy the driving force in the states revenue, while the tourism industry continues to play an important role in Fiji's economic development, contributing significantly to income and employment generation both directly and indirectly.

The projected growth in Fiji's hospitality and tourism industry has created many career opportunities in this service sector, said Seeto, adding Fiji is also blessed with its location as the hub of the Pacific region and therefore invests a great deal towards the promotion of its tourism industry which has now reached a point where the casino industry will play a critical role in its success.

Casino operators have been a long-awaited activity in Fiji, for decades.

One Hundred Sands Limited, a subsidiary of a US company, has been selected by the Fijian Government to operate the country's first casino, and the company would be responsible for the development of a 290 million Fiji dollars (114.29 million US dollars) casino resort and convention centre in Denarau Island and a smaller Suva operation.

Earlier, Fiji's Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said their selection was a result of rigorous assessment and process. The assessment took into account many factors one of the most important was the desire to optimize economic benefits from this venture without damaging the socio-economic fabric of Fijian society.

The Bainimarama government believes the development of casinos in Fiji within a regulated environment takes into account fine balance between social impact and potential economic benefits, which is an important catalyst in creating or otherwise stimulating sustainable growth and tourism within Fiji.

While the Methodist church has opposed the development for fear of social implications on a small Fijian community, Bainimarama has stressed casino development would propel Fiji's tourism sector to another level, not only through increased travelers, but also through the demand for Fijians in the hospitality workplace.

Larry Claunch, Chairman of the One Hundred Sands company, promised that this project would enrich Fiji as the casino would be attached to a five-star 100-room resort in Denarau, with 500 slot machines, 15 table games, and a high-energy nightclub along with a convention facility.

Sourced: Xinhuanet

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