The Island Nation Welcomed Its First Visitors On December 1st
The Island nation of Fiji has moved forward with its partial opening plans. The move comes despite worldwide concerns surrounding the new Omicron COVID strain.
The country welcomed the first flight, originating from Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday.
The decision to push through in the face of new restriction worldwide may be a bold one, but it is welcomed greatly by the country. Fiji relies heavily on tourism, with roughly 40% of its economy structured around the industry. It was estimated that 10% of the population became unemployed as a consequence of the pandemic.
The island had been completely closed since March 2020. With limited healthcare facilities to support its 1 million population in the event of a large outbreak, the restrictions in place have lasted until now, virtually unchanged.
Under the relaxed restrictions, fully vaccinated travelers may visit the country. Although there are some caveats to the system.
Visitors to the country must show a negative PCR test taken no more than 3 days before departure. They must also show proof of their full vaccination dosage. Being fully vaccinated in this case means the traveler must have received two doses of an approved vaccine more than 14 days before departure.
Before leaving, visitors to the island must have pre-paid at least 3 days in a Care Fiji Commitment (CFC) certified property. Upon arrival in Fiji, they must be transported to this property in an approved CFC shuttle. During their first three days they must stay within the boundaries of their approved property. They are allowed to go on approved excursions that the property has organized.
By the end of the three days spent in the approved properties, visitors must be tested once more. If a negative test is returned, they may continue the trip inside the designated property or leave the property and enter the rest of the country. It should be noted that these guests are allowed free range on the properties, and can enjoy most of the amenities available to them.
These CFC properties are a helpful way for countries and resorts to allow visitors to enjoy their trip without the need for a full quarantine period. It is in itself a quarantine, as guests cannot leave the property unless on a sanctioned and monitored excursion. Regardless, it should not hamper the bulk of tourists’ enjoyment of the area. Especially those already staying in resorts.
Meanwhile, the many countries across the world are implementing contrasting restrictions. After the emergence of the Omicron variant in Southern Africa, countries including Japan and Israel have implemented full visitor bans from foreign countries. Others, like the UK and US have reintroduced red lists or geographical bans against countries with high rates of the newer strain.
Fiji are hoping to buck the trend and, with the restrictions they still have in place, may hope to contain any possible new infections to the safe zones. Currently, the country is claiming a 90% vaccination rate across its population, adding to their confidence.
The director of the Fiji tourism board, who was on the tarmac to welcome the first flight told Reuters, ”To see the Fiji Airways plane full up and for us to welcome those tourists today was so amazing. It was a great, great feeling and I’m glad to have been there personally,”.
Travelers to Fiji and any other destination are strongly advised to keep abreast of any changes in restrictions as requirements and bans are dynamic.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com