The South Pacific oceanic country FIJI on December 1 reopened its border to international travellers for the first time in over two years, as the Pacific Island nation strives to resurrect its once-dominant tourism economy.
To combat the spread of COVID-19, Fiji closed its border to all foreign nationals in March 2020, in a desperate attempt to avoid overcrowding its scarce medical facilities. The Pacific Island of Fiji has reopened its border to travellers from a small number of countries, much to the relief of tourism businesses.
"It was incredible to see the Fiji Airways plane fill up and to be able to welcome those tourists today. It was an incredible experience, and I'm grateful to have witnessed it firsthand", said James Sowane, director of Tewaka, a Fiji tourism company. Tourists will be required to stay three nights in an approved resort and will be subjected to quick testing. They are free to travel about designated areas, including hotel bars and restaurants, as well as participate in day trips and activities.
The revival of tourism, while modest, is a boon to many of the island nation's 1 million residents. Fiji's economy is based on tourism, which contributes for 40 percent of the country's GDP, and the border closure left an estimated 10 percent of the population jobless.