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Fiji welcomes first tourists after 20 months of border closures

2021-12-01T11:25:27.075Z

The archipelago opens to tourism since December 1 after 615 days of isolation. Nationals of certain countries, including France, are accepted on the Pacific Islands, provided they follow a strict protocol.



Dancers in traditional dress welcomed foreign holidaymakers arriving in Fiji on Wednesday, November 30, on the first day of the reopening of the borders of this South Pacific archipelago.

A Fiji Airways flight from Sydney landed in the late morning at Nadi Airport on the main island of Viti Levu, ending 615 days of international isolation.

Fijian airline chief executive Andre Viljoen said it was a

“momentous” event

after 20 difficult months for the archipelago, where tourism accounts for around 40% of the economy.

"The reopening of international borders will revive Fiji's economy

," he told reporters.

The arriving flights are full. ”

Vacationers, some with surfboards under their arms, were greeted with

“bula”

(hello) and native songs.

“Since we know there is a first flight, we decided to come here,”

testified an Australian couple.

According to Andre Viljoen, health restrictions remain in force to limit Covid-19 contamination and the appearance of the Omicron variant has not deterred travelers.

Read also In Fiji, the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, a diver's paradise

An influx of travelers expected

Once in Fiji, travelers will need to stay in specific areas where immunization coverage is 100%.

(Nadi Airport, Fiji, December 1, 2021.) LEON LORD / AFP

Fiji has tightened restrictions on arrivals from southern Africa, but has not changed the rules for "partner" countries whose citizens can afford a tropical getaway to this Pacific paradise. These are New Zealand and the United States but also countries where the Omicron variant has been officially detected such as Japan, France, Australia, Canada and Great Britain.

Fiji Tourism Board General Manager Brent Hill said resorts on the two main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu are preparing to receive an influx of foreign travelers.

“We have registered around 75,0000 reservations for the next two months, which is remarkable

,” he said.

We know it's only just getting started and we can't wait to see more tourists arrive in 2022. ”

Foreign visitors will need to be fully vaccinated and tested for Covid-19 before their departure. Once in Fiji, they will stay in specific areas where immunization coverage is 100%.

The archipelago successfully wiped out Covid-19 for 12 months before a devastating second wave of the Delta variant caused nearly 700 deaths in this country of one million people.

But contaminations have dropped and the vaccination rate exceeds 90%.

See also

- Variant Omicron: Clément Beaune extends the suspension of flights from 7 African countries

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-12-01

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