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Allison Haworth West

Allison Haworth West, AFBC President

Here at the Australia Fiji Business Council in Australia, we are thrilled about the re-opening of Fiji to the international market and the opportunities for trade and tourism that this re-emergence is producing.

Since Fiji opened its borders to travelers from Australia and other markets, the revival of Fiji’s important tourism industry has been strong. It has been exciting to see the way in which Australians have flocked to Fiji over the last six months and how it has resulted in so many Fijians back in productive employment.

Through the darkest days of the pandemic Australian business has continued to support the Fijian community and business in various ways. It was wonderful to see members of the Australia Fiji Business Council continue with and expand programs providing care support to their employees and the wider Fiji community.

We applaud the support and assistance provided by the Australian government and people to support Fiji with the vaccine, PPE, medical care, and financial support provided to the Fijian government for its citizens, and have advocated for more innovative support measures.

And now it’s time to re-boot the broader bilateral business relationship by restarting the most important bilateral business event,  the annual Australia Fiji Business Forum.

The Forum to be held from 1 to 3 September 2022 at the Intercontinental Golf & Spa Resort at Natadola is the resumption of an annual bilateral business conference first held in 1987, but which has been paused since 2019 due to border closures and related restrictions caused by public health policy.

The Forum brings together Fijian and Australian businesses to share ideas and make new business connections between our two countries so that Fijian businesses and the economy can grow.

The Forum has an array of senior government and business speakers who will discuss business and investment opportunities in Fiji, as well as market opportunities for Fijian business into Australia.

Since the start of the pandemic, the AFBC has worked hard through a range of activities and strategies to keep bilateral trade links alive and to speed up reopening and re-emergence. Most recently, last week the Council was pleased to support, in Australia, a business and investment mission in Sydney and Brisbane arranged by Investment Fiji and led by Fijian Minister for Commerce, Trade Tourism and Transport, Hon Faiyaz Koya, and the Chair of Investment Fiji, Ms. Jenny Seeto.

This was the first investment mission from Fiji to Australia since before Covid-19 restrictions on travel were imposed and was timed nicely just a few weeks prior to the forthcoming Business Forum in Fiji.

The Australia Fiji Business Council is pleased that it has a 36-year partnership with Investment Fiji and the Fiji Business Australia Council in promoting trade and investment between Australia and Fiji, and looks forward to taking that partnership to new levels in the post-Covid period.

So I encourage all of you readers to register to attend the Australia Fiji Business Forum at Natadola from 1 to 3 September.  See 2022 Fiji Australia Business Forum: Vuvale – The New Paradigm – Fiji Australia Business Council (FABC).

Vinaka Vakalevu, and see you at Natadola.