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Fiji will be open to tourism by the end of 2021

(CNN) – Fiji is set to welcome tourists again by the end of 2021, but there appears to be some disagreement on the exact date of reopening.

The island nation originally intended to reopen the country’s borders to tourists in December.

Brent Hill, CEO of Tourism Fiji, the country’s national tourism body, told CNN that any reopening date is always a moving target.

Hill said travelers allowed to enter the country will need to be fully vaccinated, show evidence of a negative Covid-19 PCR test and belong to a “green list” country, although Green List criteria no. have not yet been specified.

However, in a speech on September 3, the Minister of Commerce, Commerce, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya, announced: “We are collectively working for a reopening in November”.

He added: “With safe behavior against COVID, we will reduce our community transmission and give confidence that Fiji is a safe holiday destination and will not be a source of cases in their respective countries. I am confident with all of our efforts. collectives that we will achieve the desired results and create a safe environment to welcome tourists again. “

The country’s national airline will play a major role in the reopening process.

“Fiji Airways is committed to having a strong program in place from the start. It is committed to opening in a number of its ports that it has flown to and providing capacity, ”confirmed Hill. He announced that flight and resort deals would be offered as part of the country’s reopening.

About 40 percent of Fiji’s gross national product (GNP) comes from the tourism industry.

Prime Minister Josaia “Frank” Voreqe Bainimarama openly said last summer that he was courting billionaires who wanted to visit Fiji during the pandemic.

Although the country is otherwise closed to foreign travelers, a group of around 30 wealthy people have been allowed to spend three months in the country under a special deal with the government.

The announcement of the reopening drew happy reactions from the Fijian tourist community, which was hit hard during the pandemic.

“We are delighted that before the end of the year we can once again share the spirit of Fijian boula with the world,” Christopher Southwick, owner of the Royal Davui Island Resort, told CNN. “We anticipate a strong opening for those who wish to celebrate the holidays under a palm tree.”

For a successful reopening, businesses, residents and visitors will need to follow the guidelines set out by the country’s CareFiji plan.
Travelers will need to download the CareFiji app on their phone before arriving in the country. They will be able to use the app to book hotels and resorts that comply with the program.
CNN data showed that as of September 14, 33% of Fijians had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
However, the prime minister said on twitter half of the country’s eligible adults have taken both doses of a vaccine, while the Fijian government official Twitter account said 97.2 percent of the “target population” had received at least one injection.

According to Tourism Fiji, the gap is linked to the age of those vaccinated. About a quarter of the country is under 18 and Fiji does not yet have vaccines specifically for children. Therefore, “target population” is a term they use to refer to eligible adults.

Image of Natadola Bay in Fiji by AFP via Getty Images.