Aussies and Kiwis will be permitted to travel to Fiji under Phase 2 of the island nation’s COVID-Safe Economic Recovery plan announced by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.
As Canberra and Wellington continue to “work out” a trans-Tasman travel bubble, Bainimarama revealed the Fiji government has been working on its own ‘Bula Bubble’ for travel between Fiji, New Zealand and Australia during the current coronavirus climate.
“Fiji’s equal – or arguably, greater – success against the virus puts us in a position to take the lead in the Pacific,” Bainimarama said.
The plan, which involves Fiji Airways and Tourism Fiji, will enable Australians and New Zealanders to holiday in the country in “a manner that is carefully controlled and safely insulated,” he said.
“Everywhere they go will be wholly dedicated to others who match the same criteria, safely guided by what we’re calling ‘VIP lanes’ – allowing them to Vacation In Paradise.”
Bainimarama explained that tourists from the Pacific neighbours will either need a recognised medical institution certificate, certifying their 14 days of quarantine in their home country had been served, along with proof of a negative COVID test within 48 hours of departing to Fiji, or, upon arrival in Fiji, the traveller can complete 14 days of quarantine (at their own cost) in a designated quarantine hotel of their choosing, after which a negative COVID test can clear them to start their Bula Bubble holiday.
“This Bula Bubble will allow Aussies and Kiwis to once again enjoy the best of Fiji, while remaining separate from any other travellers and the general public.”
All tourist movements will be contained within ‘VIP lanes’ – Vacations in Paradise – beginning with Fiji Airways’ flights at Nadi Airport and onto designated transport to designated resorts or hotels for the duration of their stay.
The specific resorts around Fiji that “best fit” the Bula Bubble are currently being devised.
Fiji Airways, in collaboration with Tourism Fiji and the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport will announce more details in due course.
Bainimarama added that should Australia or New Zealand become COVID-contained, the quarantine requirements for travellers from that country will be lifted, and movement can expand beyond the bubbles to everywhere else in Fiji.
Currently, Australians are not permitted to travel internationally for leisure and Fiji Airways has suspended its commercial flights abroad until the end of July.
From Monday 22 June, Fijian citizens and Fiji residents in Australia and New Zealand will be permitted to travel to Fiji after passing through a set of new safety measures.
Meanwhile, Fiji’s current nationwide curfew will remain in place, but the hours have been trimmed to between 11pm until 4am daily, effective Monday 22 June. Gatherings of more than 20 people are also banned. Cruise ships also remain banned from docking in Fiji.
Lead image: Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Mamanuca Islands, Fiji