Exclusive: Fiji’s re-opening plans for Australian travellers revealed and epic deals expected

by James Wilkinson

Fiji is readying to open to vaccinated Australian travellers before the end of 2021 and Wayfarer can exclusively reveal that rapid testing and other key measures will be in place for the wellbeing of visitors and locals.

The South Pacific nation is high on the list of destinations that Aussies will be able to travel to when borders open under the Australian Government’s 80% two-shot vaccination threshold re-opening plan, which is expected to be as early as November for New South Wales residents.

“When we hit the 80% double-dose number, which we anticipate will be in November, New South Wales looks forward to having our citizens enjoy international travel,” New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, revealed yesterday.

Fiji Airways this week (Sep 1) revealed the company will be ready to resume quarantine-free flights when the border opening is given the green light, while Qantas has also flagged a return to the South Pacific nation in December.

Speaking exclusively to Wayfarer, Tourism Fiji’s Chief Executive Officer, Brent Hill, said the announcements from Fiji Airways and Qantas were “incredibly exciting” for the nation’s hotels and tour operators who were ready to welcome back Australians with the renowned Bula spirit.

Hill said the safety of locals and visitors alike was paramount and as such, hotels, attractions and operators would have 100% of staff fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the businesses would be fully certified by the Government.

The plan at this stage, Hill said, was vaccinated Australians and their young children, who would not need to be vaccinated as long as their parents were, would be allowed to travel to Fiji and they were expected to have a test prior to departure and on arrival, as well as potentially ahead of returning to Australia, depending on Government regulations.

While the testing format hasn’t been revealed for travel from Australia or Fiji, measures are in place globally for rapid pre-travel testing, particularly at airports in the United States and thanks to partnerships like United Airlines has with ‘XpresCheck’, which offer results in just 30 minutes.

It is expected that Governments will make the travel process as seamless as possible for business travellers and families alike, such as what’s on offer in the United States and Europe at present.

Hill said the re-opening of Fiji will see some of the best travel deals ever offered to the South Pacific nation and operators were excited to have Australians return soon.

“You are going to see amazing, all-inclusive packages where you get return flights, five-nights accommodation in a 5-star hotel and all meals for under AU$1000 per person,” he told Wayfarer.

“Fiji is going to be very competitive and the product on offer right now at hotels and resorts across the nation is phenomenal.”

Hill said over 30 resorts in Fiji already have 100% of staff vaccinated, while Fiji Airways revealed yesterday that 97% of staff are fully vaccinated, with the company to be 100% complete by October.

“We’re on track,” said Fiji Airways’ Managing Director and CEO, Andre Viljoen. “We’re the only airline in the Australia-Pacific region, and one of only a handful in the world, to achieve a Skytrax 5-Star COVID Safety rating, as well as the highest ‘Diamond’ or Hospital Grade certification for APEX Health Safety powered by Simpliflying.

“With the processes and procedures we have put in place to ensure safe travel, there’s no reason we can’t realise that dream sooner rather than later.

“Our flight schedules will be released immediately following an official announcement by the Government which outlines border requirements and travel framework.

“One of these will undoubtedly be that visitors must be fully vaccinated, a position Fiji Airways strongly supports,” Viljoen said.

The entire working population of Fiji is expected to be fully vaccinated by November, ahead of the potential border opening with Australia.