By Martin Kelly, Editor, Travel Trends 

COULD this be the ultimate definition of optimism? Tourism Fiji’s regional director, Paresh Pant, told Travel Today he remained “confident” of boosting sagging visitor numbers ex-Australia. The number of Aussies who travelled to the troubled Pacific nation fell by almost 9000 – more than 30% – for the first two months of 2009.

And that was before the military rulers of Fiji sacked the judiciary and expelled media. Not withstanding all of this, Mr Pant said Fiji’s Aussie visitor numbers would bounce back thanks to the ‘Stimulate Me’ marketing campaign and 20% devaluation of the Fiji dollar. Sure thing. And pigs may fly. Then again, what else is he going to say? He reports to a military dictator. Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir. Travel Trends: April 27, 2009 UPDATE: Fiji flag carrier Air Pacific suspended flights between the Gold Coast and Nadi due to poor demand effective May 2.

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