Despite the possibility posed by the newly found omicron coronavirus strain, Fiji welcomed its first tourists in over 600 days on Wednesday.
The Pacific island nation is known for its gorgeous white-sand beaches and friendly people. And it all relies on how much money those attractions bring in from tourists. Last year, Fiji’s economy received one of the worst pandemic-related blows in the world, falling 19 percent, leading the government to provide jobless people tools and cash to help them become farmers.
As a result, officials greeted the inaugural tourist aircraft from Sydney with relief. In the following days, more flights from Australia and the United States will be available.
The restoration of tourists, according to Fiji Airways Chief Executive Andre Viljoen, will help the economy recover.
He claimed that the airline’s health and safety requirements were designed to account for possible coronavirus variations, and that it had implemented additional omicron screening to guarantee that customers had not recently visited any high-risk countries.
He claimed the airline had some cancellations in recent days as a result of media coverage of the new version, which was first reported last week in South Africa, but they also had re-bookings and new bookings, resulting in minimal overall change.
Tourism Fiji Chief Executive Brent Hill said 75,000 tourists had booked trips to the country in the coming months, and the organisation had started a campaign using Australian actor Rebel Wilson as the face of the campaign.
Fiji was exempted the very worst of the virus until April, whenever a delta variant outbreak broke out. Nearly 700 people were killed in the outbreak, which has now subsided to about five reported cases per day.
According to data from Our World in Data, about 64% of Fiji’s population is completely vaccinated, with 70% having received at least one shot.
Chefs, gardeners, and wait workers, according to Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, have begun returning to work in recent days.