Fiji is preparing for a surge in Chinese tourists now that China has loosened its COVID-related border restrictions.
The Health Ministry states that Fiji does not have direct travelers from China and so countries that receive passengers directly have the ability to surveil for variants and Fiji now has an in-country capacity to survey for new COVID-19 variants.
However, Tourism Minister Viliame Gavoka says the ministry has committed marketing funds for Japan and China as they are definite that the number of visitors will accelerate this year.
He says they are aware of the surge in COVID-19 cases in China but will ensure that the safety of Fijians is not compromised.
“We are very careful to ensure that nothing is brought in to the country to threaten our people, and we are liaising very closely with the Ministry of Health, and we very much follow the practices with our neighbors, especially Australia, and so we follow them very closely on what they do and we do it likewise right here in Fiji.”
Gavoka says the existing COVID-19 safety measures remain, especially the need to ensure that only fully vaccinated travelers are allowed into Fiji.
China has removed the requirement for inbound travelers to quarantine, making vacationing abroad easier.
The policy change is expected to boost the tourism sector across the wider region, especially in the South Pacific.