Australians will be able to visit Fiji from December after the Pacific island nation hit its target of vaccinating 80 per cent of its eligible population.
Visitors will still need to meet several COVID-19 safety requirements, including being fully vaccinated and providing a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure, but there will be no quarantine required.
Only visitors from Fiji's official "Travel Partner" list will be allowed. At this stage the list is Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Germany, Spain, France, Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and most Pacific Island countries.
"It's been almost two years since we welcomed international visitors," said Fiji's minister for tourism, Faiyaz Koya.
"And in these two years, we've struggled, we've adapted, and we've prepared. Today, our national airline is ready, our hotels and tour providers are ready, and Fijians are ready to safely welcome the world back."
Fiji Airways will launch twice-daily flights from Sydney to Fiji on December 1, with daily flights from Melbourne and Brisbane. Jetstar will have five flights a week from Sydney to Fiji starting on December 17, with Qantas flying the same route four times a week from December 19. The airlines have indicated frequency may increase in 2022 if demand is high.
Virgin Australia has brought forward its resumption of Fiji flights from December 23 to December 16, with daily flights from Sydney and Melbourne and three per week from Brisbane. Sydney-Fiji flights will increase to two a day from December 23. The Fiji flights will be Virgin's first international route to resume following the airline's relaunch last year under new ownership.
It has been a remarkable turnaround for the Pacific nation, which earlier this year earned the ignominious title of the country with the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rate in the world and that came after Fiji had remained almost COVID-free for most of the pandemic.
After more than 50,000 cases and 600 deaths, the country is now averaging about 40 new cases and three deaths a day.
According to Tourism Fiji, every person who interacts with tourists will be fully vaccinated, including resort staff, drivers and tour guides. Every tourism business will also have a "Wellness Ambassador" charged with maintaining COVID-19 safety.
"We are ecstatic that Fiji will open its borders to international visitors before the end of the year," says Tourism Fiji's chief executive Brent Hill. "This is the moment we have been planning for nearly two years now and I can assure the world that Fiji is safe and ready to welcome you back.
Prior to the pandemic, more than 360,000 Australians visited Fiji each year. The country is highly reliant on tourism - almost 40 per cent of its GDP was generated by tourism before the COVID-19 outbreak. Tourism also accounted for more than a third of all jobs.
Visitors have been requested to make the following commitments during their Fiji holiday:
- Ensure they meet COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements before their trip and upon arrival
- Book with a Care Fiji Committed business
- Ensure they have appropriate travel insurance
- Download and use the careFIJI contact tracing app and QR check in
- They don't travel if unwell or with COVID-19 symptoms
- Maintain 2-metre physical distancing where appropriate
- Wash hands and use hand sanitiser regularly
- Wear a mask in public spaces
- Avoid areas with low vaccination rates
- Contact their resort's Wellness Ambassador if unwell during their stay
Source: Tourism Fiji
For full details on entering Fiji once borders open, take a look at Tourism Fiji's information page.