Did somebody say Fiji Travel was on? UPDATED: 15 October 2021
As Fiji celebrated 51 years of independence on the 10th October 21, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announced that Fiji would re-open its borders to international travellers from selected travel partner countries, happily including Australia, as of 1 December.
Having closed its borders back in March 2020, this is, of course, super exciting news. Fiji has worked diligently to get its vaccination levels to an amazing 93% first dose and 66% second dose as of the 11th October, with an anticipation that they will have achieved their goal of 80% of the eligible population double dosed by 1 December 21.
But before we all grab our passports and dust off our suitcases, it’s prudent to look again at the travel facts.
Can Australian’s travel to Fiji from 1 December?
Not yet. Whilst the Fiji Government have announced their border opening for that date and sent out an invitation to Australian travellers to enjoy quarantine free travel in Fiji, we are still waiting for the Australian Government to confirm when international travel ex Australia will resume, and to which countries. It is, however, anticipated that when that happens that Fiji will be on our go-to list.
Do we know the new Travel Rules yet?
We know some of Fiji’s new rules. These are currently:
- International travellers must be fully vaccinated to enter Fiji and carry internationally recognised proof of said vaccination
- All travellers to Fiji will need to have a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to boarding their flight to Nadi. Do note that due to the documentation and proof required for voluntary travel, these tests will need to be undertaken at private clinics at a personal cost to the traveller, and not at Government-funded testing clinics. These tests are approx. A$160 + GST per person.
- All guests must download and turn on the CareFiji contract tracing app on arrival in Fiji and scan QR codes at all locations visited.
- For the first 48 hours of your visit, you will be confined to your hotel/resort (not your hotel room. You are free to roam throughout your resort and use its facilities). During this time you will be required to take a mandatory Rapid COVID 19 test as soon as is practical. This cost needs to be factored into your budget (approx. F$35 per test paid directly in Fiji). On returning a negative test, you will be free to travel as and where you want
- Whilst Fiji’s population is 80% vaccinated, that leaves 20% vulnerable and therefore tourists will be required to maintain ongoing COVID safe practices – masks when outside of the resort in public areas, hand sanitiser, social distancing, etc.
And the rules for coming home to Australia?
These will presumably be announced by the Australian Government when they confirm the resumption of travel. Again, it is likely this will involve getting a private PCR test either just prior to departure (F$350 per person) or immediately on return (or both). It is also assumed that there will be a home quarantine period imposed on all returning travellers with discussions currently focused on 7 days.
It is imperative to note, however, that it will be a requirement by the Australian Government that returning travellers must test negative prior to coming home. You will not be permitted to board the flight home if you test positive whilst in Fiji. You will be required to therefore quarantine in Fiji (at your expense) until such time as you test negative.
Will all of Fiji’s fabulous resorts open on 1 December?
No. Some will – such as Vomo Island, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Kokomo, Shangri-La, Castaway, Nanuku, Sofitel, Royal Davui, Likuliku Lagoon, Radisson, Hilton, InterContinental and the Outrigger. But some other popular ones like Tokoriki, Malolo, The Sheraton Resorts Denarau, Matamanoa, Tropica and Plantation Island have confirmed that they will not be opening until March/April (depending on the resort).
So should we travel in December or the new year?
Those hoping to book for December and at least the first quarter of 2022 should be prepared for a few inconveniences along the way, as everyone adapts to the ‘new travel normal’ (whatever that adapts to be over the next 2 months). If you have the time and the temperament to roll with these new punches, then we are sure the travel rewards will be plentiful after such a tumultuous period of lockdowns and COVID stress.
Written by Marilyn Lynch
Director – Island Escapes