Fiji’s international borders will reopen today after almost two years.
This has brought in much excitement for the people of Fiji as the first tourist flight lands at the Nadi international airport this morning.
This first flight is a strong indication of Fiji's resilience to get through the pandemic and a ray of hope for many employees of the tourism sector to be reemployed.
Fiji Airways says it is working closely with the Ministry of Health to monitor and minimise the risk of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 from entering the country.
As an added measure, the airline says it will introduce an additional check at the airport today, for all travellers to declare where they have been in the last 14 days.
According to the national carrier the safety protection protocols from Covid-19 and its potential variants are included in the border-reopening framework which was designed to deal with situations like this.
Fiji Airways has an independently verified Travel Ready programme that has several safeguards to minimise risk, and the carrier has medically qualified Customer Wellness Champions onboard to enforce these measures.
These protections are now further enhanced with the implementation of Fiji Airways’ “No Jab, No Fly” Vaccination Policy, which requires all adults (over 18 years of age) to be fully vaccinated with a Fiji- approved vaccine prior to travel.
Fiji Airports Communications and Public Relations Manager Christopher Chand says today’s flight is probably the most anticipated one.
“It will be after 20 months that we will be having our first tourist flight and we are looking forward to it with great excitement to see and welcome our passengers back to Nadi International Airport.”
The Nadi International Airport will come alive today as a welcome celebration has been planned for tourists.
A water salute will be done when the first plane touches down followed by a Fijian welcome ceremony by villagers from Sabeto and the Minister for Economy together with a few other key stakeholders.
The flow-on effect for when holidaymakers are in the country is huge as this creates business, opens up employment which adds to the economic development.
Handicraft seller Asha Nand said they have been setting up their shop since Monday.
“Everybody is excited since we haven’t said ‘Bula’ in a long time, or ‘have a look inside. People are practicing and people are laughing.”
Nadi Taxi Driver Jiten Kumar says today is the day that many have been looking forward to.
“So now it’s going to be good for everyone mostly us the taxi operators, the staff will get engaged to do their work at the airport, from there, we will get our business and this is how the business will pick up.”
The first flight from Sydney that will land today will see 233 passengers.
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