Fiji will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from countries such as the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and most Pacific Island countries beginning November 11, although the official reopening will take place December 1, when the country’s first scheduled tourist flight on the national carrier, Fiji Airways, arrives.
Visitors must have a negative Covid-19 test three days prior to arrival and also take a rapid test upon arrival. Returning tourists and residents will still need to undergo a two- or three-day hotel lockdown, respectively.
The relaxation of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements comes after the government launched an aggressive vaccination campaign; 96.6 percent of the target population 18 years and older received their first dose, while 80.3 percent received both doses.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the country is “fully confident in our ability to manage the risk associated with non-quarantine travel.Our aircraft are prepared. Our airports are adapted.
Every Fijian hotel and tour operator in Fiji will be certified under the Care Fiji Commitment certification program, which will require all hotels and tours to meet the highest standards of comfort, health and safety.Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji
Bainimarama said hotels should ensure access to comfortable and well-stocked isolation facilities and medical care such as testing, routine swabs and escalation protocols in case of positive cases.
The country is already experiencing a boom in demand after the announcement, nearly two years after its borders were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Our website data is up again, we’re seeing a real uptick in interest. It’s exciting and we want to encourage people to come to Fiji for Christmas and New Year’s,” said Fiji Tourism chief executive officer, Brent Hill. “While not everyone can open on December 1, the overwhelming majority of our industry and those who employ a significant number are very much behind the announcement.”
Our tourism industry has been waiting for this for a long time.Brent Hill, Fiji Tourism chief executive officer
The government’s “no jab, no job” policy for civil servants and private sector staff, announced in July, is forcing many Fijians to get vaccinated. Fantasha Lockington, head of the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association, said months of preparation went into planning for the reopening.
“The industry is keeping a close eye on our major markets of Australia and New Zealand and their own management of vaccinations and border management, as Fiji’s reopening must eventually coincide with those countries allowing their citizens to travel here,” Lockington said.
Prior to the pandemic, tourism contributed nearly 40 percent of Fiji’s gross domestic product – about fJ$2 billion (900 million euros) – and directly or indirectly employed more than 150,000 people. But as visitor arrivals fell by 87 percent, the economy dropped by 19 percent in 2020. Since 2013, tourist arrivals to Fiji had increased at an average rate of 5%.