The long wait for travel advisors for the return of flop-and-drop summer holidays in the South Pacific is over. More than 18-months after Fiji shut off the tourism tap to put the squeeze on the worsening pandemic, the island nation’s hotels and resorts are once again celebrating as bookings start to flow.
Fiji specialist of 23 years, TravelManagers’ Deahann Avery, says demand is well and truly back to pre-COVID levels, fuelled by stronger inquiry and booking levels.
Avery’s business, I Do Fiji Holidays, saw an immediate response to Fiji’s decision two weeks ago to reopen its borders to international visitors, officially from 1 December 2021.
She said business has surged 100% compared to June and July of this year, and it’s just getting busier.
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“New requests started pouring in within an hour of the Prime Minister’s announcement on Fiji Day, and they haven’t stopped,” Avery told LATTE.
Not even four weeks ago, Avery’s travel business was in a state of hibernation and she was looking after admin for her partner’s crane business.
But now it’s all systems go again, with existing and new clients snapping up packaged “Bula Bubble Deals” at hotels and resorts Fiji-wide, booking longer stays and higher room categories.
Clients are locking in dates from “the minute” Fiji’s border reopens in December, through to April. And the offers in-market now are the best Avery has seen in two decades.
“Pre COVID, six-night stays were popular. Now clients are looking at 12-nights and taking advantage of stay-pay deals.”
She says all-inclusive packages have been a hit, with competitive rates offered even during the Christmas school holiday period.
As the name implies, I Do Fiji Holidays’ core business pre-COVID was destination weddings, many of which were forced to cancel due to the travel ban. But they too are reconnecting now.
“I’ve had a handful of brides postpone and reschedule their weddings for 2022. Some have even gone on to have babies and are now going to be travelling as a family to Fiji,” Avery quipped.
Among the ultra-luxury Fijian resorts popular with Australian travellers is Virtuoso Preferred property, VOMO Island Fiji. Karen Marvell, Director of Sales & Marketing at VOMO told LATTE bookings at the island resort are “through the roof”.
“Our reservations team and I are struggling to manage the correspondence, there is such a wonderful pent-up demand. It is truly heartwarming to be making new bookings again, so none of us are complaining,” Marvell said.
VOMO Island Fiji re-opens on 11 November for guests who can fly privately to Fiji, as well as Fiji residents. Come 1 December, the property will be ready for a steady influx of guests who will arrive on the first international flights.
Marvell said many guests holding credits with VOMO have re-booked for peak periods in 2022.
“We are already fully booked for Christmas and New Year, through to January, Easter and the Australian school holidays in both April and July.”
VOMO has also witnessed changes in booking patterns with guests choosing to stay for longer and travelling with extended family.
“Our beautiful multi-bedroom private residences on the beachfront are our most popular category for sale, whilst our lead-in category is often widely available across the same dates, showing us that Australians are ready to treat themselves to the best options on offer.”
“And if Aussies are able to ‘work from home’ why not ‘work from VOMO’ instead, where the wifi is excellent and the view from the ‘office’ is spectacular!” Marvell said.
Reopening dates of Fiji’s luxury and ultra-luxury hotel collection
Meanwhile, other five-star and beyond resorts in Fiji are also starting to emerge from hibernation and have announced their planned return to operation date.
Here’s a snapshot of those properties and their relaunch dates.
VOMO Island Fiji – reopening 11 November 2021
Dolphin Island – TBA
Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay – reopening 1 December 2021
InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa – open now
Jean Michel-Cousteau Resort – open now
Kokomo Private Island – reopening 1 December 2021
Laucala Private Island – TBA
Likuliku Lagoon Resort – reopening 1 February 2022
Matamanoa Island Resort – reopening 1 March 2022
Namale Resort & Spa – reopening 1 December 2021
Nanuku, Auberge Resorts Collection – open now
Qamea – TBA
Raiwasa Private Resort – TBA
Royal Davui Island Fiji – reopening 11 December 2021
Six Senses Fiji – reopening 15 February 2022
Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa – reopening 15 November 2021
Taveuni Palms – reopening 1 December 2021
The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa – under redevelopment until late 2022
Tokoriki Island Resort – reopening 1 March 2022
Turtle Island Fiji – reopening 1 December 2021
Vatuvara – TBA
Wakaya Club and Spa – TBA
Yasawa Island Resort & Spa – reopening 18 December 2021