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An initiative of tourism industry partners has been urgently activated to reassure and continue to encourage global travellers to visit Fiji following last week’s devastating cyclone.

The Tourism Action Group is made up of key representatives from each sector within the tourism industry to focus on immediate action to reduce booking cancellations due to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Winston to parts of the Pacific ocean islands.

A sum of $100,000 has been pledged to support immediate activities.

TAG’s focus is on educating travellers that much of Fiji’s tourism infrastructure is intact, and that the country is safe and ready to welcome visitors back.

Tourism Fiji and Fiji Airways are members of the action group.

The death toll from Cyclone Winston, estimated to be the worst storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, remained at 42 but officials at Fiji's National Disaster Management Office fear that figure will rise, according to local reports.

The cyclone left an estimated 35,000 people, out of the 900,000 who live in the archipelago of more than 300 islands, in evacuation centres,

TAG is chaired by Damend Gounder, of Tour Managers Fiji, who said: “Tourism is key to Fiji getting back on its feet after such a massive natural disaster, so industry partners have collectively agreed to activate TAG and ensure that this sector maintains momentum and continues to bring in visitors to Fiji.

“We need to work hand-in-hand and TAG is the ideal response.”

The initiative covers:?

• Public Relations - To correct information about the status of the tourism infrastructure, properties, attractions and activities – most of which are intact.

• Marketing - To push tactical marketing campaigns to ensure that Fiji remains an attractive destination?

• Finance - to secure funds for sustaining the operations of TAG through innovative activities with trade a