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Australians Already Booking Fijian Holidays

Australian families looking for a tropical getaway say they feel more confident planning a holiday to Fiji than interstate, with double-vaccination rates in the Pacific country surpassing 80 per cent.
14 Oct 2021 11:30
Australians Already Booking Fijian Holidays
The first tourist flight — on Fiji Airways — is scheduled for December 1.

Australian families looking for a tropical getaway say they feel more confident planning a holiday to Fiji than interstate, with double-vaccination rates in the Pacific country surpassing 80 per cent.

After months cooped up in lockdown, Sydney mum Lisa Thwaite said booking a family trip to Fiji felt surreal.

“It’s exciting and really liberating,” Ms Thwaite said.

“It feels like we’ve been sort of treading water, or in limbo for so long.”

 

“For me, psychologically, it was actually quite liberating to go ahead and book it.”

Ms Thwaite said Fiji had always been on her bucket list of places to travel, and when Australian airlines started advertising flights to the islands last month she didn’t hesitate.

“We were looking at places interstate … but it just sounded like there was more certainty going to Fiji than Queensland for a tropical holiday,” she said.

“So that was what we chose to do.”

Ms Thwaite is among a growing number of Australians booking holidays to the Pacific country, which this week announced specific plans for its reopening in November.

Fiji Open December 1st 2021

Border To Re-open Due To High Vaccination Rate
More than 80 per cent of people in Fiji have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a remarkable turnaround since June, when Fiji had the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rates in the world.

As well as introducing a “no-jab no-job” policy, the Fijian government has been encouraging citizens to get jabbed by running a “vaccine lottery” worth FJ$51,000.

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Fiji would reopen its borders from November 11 to a select number of countries, including:
1.  Australia,
2.  the United States of America, and
3.  New Zealand.

The first tourist flight — on Fiji Airways — is scheduled for December 1, with Qantas and Virgin Australia resuming flights later that month.

 

10 Approved Countries
Travellers must spend at least 10 days in those approved countries, show proof of vaccination and return a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before their departure.

On arrival in Fiji, tourists will be required to spend 48 hours on hotel premises before returning a negative rapid diagnostic test, which will allow them to travel freely to “safe” areas throughout the country.

Mr Bainimarama said he was confident Fiji could reopen safely, despite having grappled with a large COVID-19 outbreak, which has claimed more than 630 lives.

“To our friends in Australia and New Zealand, and to residents of other countries we’re preparing to welcome, our message is simple: Fiji is ready to welcome you back to our shores,” he said.

“We are entirely confident in our ability to manage the risk associated with quarantine-free travel.”

 

Family Reunions On The Horizon
The announcement gives extra confidence to people like Shobhna Sen, a nurse in the Sydney suburb of Blacktown who has been waiting to book flights to Fiji to visit her family.

“It’s important for me to go back because I have missed that family time together, especially with my elderly parents,” she said.

Ms Sen has taken two weeks of annual leave in February for the trip, but said she was waiting for more clarity on Fiji’s quarantine requirements before purchasing flights and accommodation.

Tourism Fiji Chief Executive Officer, Brent Hill.

Tourism Fiji Chief Executive Officer, Brent Hill.

Get In Quick
Tourism Fiji chief executive officer, Brent Hill said Australians wanting to book holidays should get in quick, with some resorts already booked out for periods over Christmas and in early 2022.

“It’s a pretty exciting time,” Mr Hill said.

At Radisson Blu resort in Denarau, preparations are underway to welcome back overseas guests.

 

General manager, Charles Homsy, said the business was forced to let go of 90 per cent of its staff when the pandemic hit and Fiji closed its borders in early 2020.

He said the resort had booked more than 500 room nights over the past two weeks, and he expected the level of interest to increase with the latest government announcement.

“We have seen a serious number of bookings picking up, mostly from Australia, and a little bit from the United States of America,” he said.



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