Fiji could drop casino, Tahiti in different boat

    Fiji’s Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) will declare Fiji a casino-free country, if elected into government, local media reported. In its manifesto, the party said it does not support casinos. One Hundred Sands was granted an exclusive licence to construct and manage Fiji’s first casino on Denarau Island in December 2011. SODELPA does not appear to warm up to the idea, saying it will review the casino licence, and cancel it if it is legally feasible. “They are an undesirable form of tourism investment associated with organised crime, racketeering, prostitution, and other problems,” SODELPA said in their manifesto. The construction of the $290m casino was expected to be completed by October last year. However, delays including the shifting of the project to outside Denarau resulted in the construction not starting proper till early this year. It is expected to be completed within 18 months and provide jobs to more than 800 people and boost the country’s economy.

    Meanwhile, in Tahiti, the proposed $3 billion resort and casino is seen as a key project in the government’s plan to create jobs and revive tourism. The opposition however, in conjunction with local churches, is organising a protest march against the IR, Tahiti Pacifique reports. Cheaper air fares from the United States and the marketing of Polynesian culture are expected to draw tourists back to French Polynesia.