Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announced the island nation has reopened its borders for international tourism for the first time since many of the world’s borders closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic nearly 2 years ago. Fiji’s population of just 1 million people have struggled without the tourism that makes up a lion’s share of the economy after borders closed in March of 2020.
With limited medical facilities, widespread Covid-19 outbreaks would quickly overwhelm and cripple the island’s hospitals and medical staff, so the tiny Pacific nation locked down quickly and has stayed closed, weathering out the pandemic.
Now, despite the looming threat of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, which has been found in Fiji’s biggest tourist demographic Australia, tourism operators in Fiji are thrilled to see the start of travellers returning to the country. So far, they have only opened the border to a few countries to begin, and only to vaccinated travellers. But the Prime Minister lauded the return of tourism with a welcoming Facebook post.
“Today, we are proud and most importantly prepared to welcome the first tourists to fly to Fiji in almost two years. Our message to every fully vaccinated, Covid-tested traveller who arrives to our shores is simple: Welcome Home.”
90% of the adult population of Fiji has now been vaccinated against Covid-19 and visitors arriving to the country will have to follow strict safety precautions. Once a traveller arrives in Fiji, they will take rapid Covid-19 tests and be quarantined for 3 nights in an approved resort. They will have the option of some activities and organised day trips, and be allowed to make use of their resort’s bars and restaurants.
The tourism revenue is much appreciated for a country where 40% of the economy is tourist-related (compared to about 20% of tourism-heavy Thailand’s economy) so the closures have resulted in 10% of the population in Fiji being unemployed.
SOURCE: Asia News Today
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