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Protocols For Outer Island Tourism Operators Launched

The Ministry of Tourism has issued guidelines which allow outer island resorts and tourism service providers to operate. Penalties are outlined for those who breach the guidelines provided under the
27 Sep 2021 15:40
Protocols For Outer Island Tourism Operators Launched
Staff of Raddison Blu at Denarau, Nadi have been fully vaccinated.

The Ministry of Tourism has issued guidelines which allow outer island resorts and tourism service providers to operate.

Penalties are outlined for those who breach the guidelines provided under the protocols for movement.

The protocols were drawn up following consultation between the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, and Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association.

Other tourism stakeholders were also involved in the consultation.

Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association chief executive officer, Fantasha Lockington, referred further queries to the Tourism ministry.

Tourism Fiji chief executive officer, Brent Hill, said he would comment today.

Tourism Fiji is the Government’s official marketing arm.

Domestic tourists and workers of the sector

Updated on September 23, 2021, the protocols for movement of domestic tourists and workers to outer tourism destinations stipulates:

  • all eligible travellers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • people with COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to board.
  • travellers who are not eligible for vaccines must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for the duration of the trip.
  • guests must provide evidence of confirmed reservations, inclusive of transfers, in a Care Fiji Commitment approved tourism operator.
  • no traveller from Viti Levu is allowed to access any other area of the outer island, apart from those inclusive of the pre-paid holiday package.
  • all travellers must have the careFIJI app downloaded with the device Bluetooth switched on at all times.

The careFIJI app must be checked by the transport provider, prior to boarding.

“Only in exceptional circumstances where the use of careFIJI is not possible, the transport provider must maintain a register for contact tracing information of employees and travellers,” the ministry said.

“This must include but not be limited to name, time/date, ID card, residential address and next-of-kin contacts.”

Requirements for tourism service providers

According to the Tourism ministry, all tourism service providers must be approved Care Fiji Commitment operators, in order to carry out business.

Tourism operators must only engage fully vaccinated employees to provide services to travellers from Viti Levu, the ministry said.

“A separate bubble needs to be formed where applicable, for the vulnerable population – non-vaccinated persons and children – on the outer island property,” the ministry said.

“There must strictly be no interaction between the operational bubble and the vulnerable population.”

Tourism operators and service providers must provide, as part of their travel pathway, a dedicated transfer from a dedicated port in Viti Levu, to the outer island resort, the ministry said.

“Strictly, there should be no interaction between employees, contractors or guests with a third party while the transfer takes place,” the ministry said.

Where there is an extension of activities held in the outer island where communities are based, appropriate consent by the respective communities is required, the ministry said.

Application process

The Tourism ministry said tourism operators must submit a surveillance plan which should include details:

  • of a safe travel pathway highlighting mode(s) of transport and other logistic details from place of departure to place of arrival and return;
  • of how they will identify symptoms amongst the travellers;
  • of screen, trace and isolate travellers;
  • of its ability to conduct nasopharyngeal swabbing of employees; and
  • engagement with divisional and sub-divisional medical teams to deal with suspected cases.

To be eligible to travel, all tourism operators must provide proof of vaccination, with consent of all eligible employees and contractors.

Evidence of Care Fiji Commitment approval is also required for travellers from Viti Levu, the ministry said.

The COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Taskforce will assess submissions for approval for the respective travel pathway, the ministry said.

Penalties

In a newsletter to its members dated September 25, Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association “strongly advises that members strictly follow these directives at all times.”

Imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, can be meted out under the Public Health Act 1935.

Business licences can also be revoked, where there are found breaching the protocol, the newsletter said.

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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