Fiji Fiji

Fiji plans ‘controlled’ travel

Fiji has set out a guideline to restart tourism, utilising VIP (Vacation in Paradise) lanes, that will see arrivals from Australia and New Zealand ‘holidaying in a manner that is carefully controlled and safely insulated’.

It is the latest example of countries coming up with innovative ways to make travel and tourism safe and possible without a full return to business as usual. In a statement over the weekend, Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainamara said the proposal involves Fiji Airways and Tourism Fiji. ‘Everywhere they (tourists) go will be wholly dedicated to others who match the same criteria.’

At the start, intending travellers will need to present a certificate from a recognised medical institution certifying they have had 14 days of quarantine in their home country, along with proof of a negative Covid test result within 48 hours of their departure for Fiji, at which time they can immediately start their ‘Bula Bubble’ holiday within confined VIP lanes. Another option is that they complete 14 days of quarantine at their own cost in a Fijian Government designated quarantine centre of a hotel of their choosing, after which a negative Covid test would clear them to start their vacation. Bainamara says that once New Zealand, Australia or another country have Covid contained, status travellers from that country will be allowed to enter Fiji without spending time in quarantine. They will still need to present a negative test result within 48 hours of travelling to Fiji.

Steve Lee, director of NZ Travel Brokers, says the Bula Bubble looks interesting. ‘There are plenty of clients eager to get to the islands as soon as they open up. It will disappointing to miss the opportunity to get there in our winter, as seems more likely than not, given the (NZ) government’s intention to open up Australian borders first. Clearly, the government is rating the economic impact of Australian tourists coming to NZ as having far more importance than helping our struggling island nations’ economies. If we don’t send tourists there soon we’ll end up sending aid instead.’

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