Tourism Fiji / Supplied
Fiji plans to reopen its doors to Kiwis and tourists from Green List countries from December 1.
New Zealand’s Covid-19 response minister Chris Hepkins has advised Kiwis not to travel internationally at this time, after Fiji announced it would open its borders to tourists from December 1.
Fiji’s government announced on Sunday that it has a clear path to reopening to tourists from December, after the country vaccinated more than 80 percent of its eligible population over the age of 18.
Fiji plans to reopen the doors to the Green List which has similarly high vaccination rates as Fiji, as well as low test positive rates.
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At this point, this list includes New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, Korea, Singapore, the United States, and most Pacific Island countries.
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Tourists are required to provide proof of vaccination with approved vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca and Jansen – and submit a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours before departure.
In Fiji, tourists spend two days in quarantine in their hotels, and will be able to use all hotel amenities before being allowed to visit other parts of the country that were safe travel areas.
Hepkins said that despite Fiji’s plans to reopen to tourists, including New Zealanders, the strong advice from the government was not to travel, at this time.
“This means that anyone who chooses to travel does so at their own risk,” Hepkins said.
He said this was advice to New Zealanders as there was limited ability to return.
He said New Zealanders would still have to spend 14 days in a managed isolation and quarantine facility upon return.
“The numbers are limited by the managed isolation system to 4,000 every 18-20 days in order to prevent Covid-19 from coming into New Zealand.”
Announcing Fiji’s plans to reopen, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said they are fully confident they can manage the risks associated with quarantine-free travel.
Fiji’s national airline, Fiji Airways, has also announced that it will resume flights to and from New Zealand on December 1, with daily flights from Auckland to Nadi, three flights a week from Christchurch and two flights a week from Wellington.
A Fiji airline spokesperson said there were already some bookings from New Zealand, but not as many as bookings from Australia and the United States.
“We fully understand that the Kiwis are waiting for the border restrictions and requirements to be clarified upon return,” he said.
“We have always said that when Kiwis are ready to travel, Fijian Waanau will be waiting for them. We have also mentioned that we will adjust our schedules if some destinations are not ready or open by the 1st of December.”
From the first quarter of 2022, Hepkins said, the New Zealand government was planning to move to new, individual border settings based on risk that would create low, medium and high risk lanes in the country.
“The government’s primary consideration is the health of New Zealanders as we continue to increase vaccination rates across New Zealand.
“To help reach the nearly 20 per cent of eligible New Zealanders who are not yet vaccinated, a large vaccination campaign is underway, culminating on Good Saturday 16 October.”