SUVA, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The yachting industry has grown significantly and contributed an average of 16.8 million U.S. dollars annually in foreign earnings over the last three years, said Nigel Skeggs, managing director of Port Denarau Monday.
A total of 680 yachts berthed at Port Denarau in the Fijian resort town of Nadi in 2012 with more bookings already confirmed for 2013, local media reported Monday.
"We had 640 yachts and 42 super yachts that visited the marina last year and that is about the best year in terms of super yachts arriving in Fiji," Skeggs told the Fiji Times.
"In fact, the numbers for the super yachts grew significantly compared to 32 the year before. Another significant factor for these yachts, they stayed longer here in Fiji and the amount of spending is increasing all the time."
Skeggs acknowledged the Fijian government's support, especially its support for the Super Yacht Charter Decree, saying the decree "has generated millions of dollars for the government and I think it is very encouraging."
David Jamieson, managing director of Yacht Help Fiji Limited, said yachting tourism in Fiji was steadily growing with Fiji becoming a yacht and super yacht hub of the South Pacific.
"Fiji offers some of the best cruising grounds in the world. Millions of investment dollars have been spent providing marinas and facilities for these yachts," Jamieson said, "the yachting industry in Fiji has been very active promoting our beautiful country and its world class marine facilities to potential yachting tourists."
Skeggs said a huge number of super yachts booking for 2013 was coming from Europe with expectations of high visitor numbers.
"It will be exciting despite the fact that cyclone Evan has affected some of our ambition but we will bounce back and drive in full force," Skeggs said, adding the marina was gradually recovering after the devastation caused by Evan last year.
"Fiji bounces back very quickly after the cyclone and it is important for the tourism industry to keep giving the message out and to drive the tourist numbers here and help them to understand that we are back up in running and business up as usual," said Skeggs.