Fiji’s re-opening if International borders and it’s impact on tourism
10 December, 2022, 10:47 am
FIJI’S tourism industry has been one of the highest contributors towards its GDP (gross domestic product) with a contribution of 38 per cent to 40 per cent pre-pandemic.
The sector took a huge hit with border closures and lockdowns globally, reducing to around nine percent of GDP.
When Fiji re-opened its borders on December 1, 2021, every Fijian could relate to the happiness that came with the first flight from Sydney landing at the Nadi International Airport.
As Fiji celebrated its one-year re-opening anniversary last week, Tourism Fiji staff reflected on how much the crisis demonstrated what Fiji truly is.
We all came together and drove vaccination uptakes, public-private partnerships, weekly consultations and webinars, shared ideas, local love with the ‘Love our locals’ campaign, and cared for each other through the Care Fiji Commitment program.
We reflected on how Fiji’s resilience, optimism and solidarity kept it going!
“I joined the Fijian Vuvale (family) at one of its most challenging times and despite the difficulties, I have witnessed some of the best in humanity – how the country stepped up to care for those in need as well as how we as a team came together to demonstrate the best of Fiji – the Vuvale, sharing and connection, and the authenticity of it,” Tourism Fiji chief executive officer Brent Hill said.
Tourism Fiji captured these sentiments to showcase to the world that despite the challenges, Fijians came through the dark days together and are proud to be “Open for Happiness”.
And since re-opening, the country has not looked back. Since the borders reopened on December 1, 2021, Fiji has welcomed 520,312 tourists – averaging 65 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
With November and December results still to come and looking great, Fiji is projecting to finish 2022 with over 600,000 visitors from all over the world.
It is a milestone achievement demonstrating how the re-opening was a success despite the threats of other variants of COVID-19.
The last four to six months have been particularly busy with International Visitor Survey (IVS) data showing that the number of people coming to Fiji for “holiday” reasons is close to 2019 peak levels.
Tourists are spending more (+12 per cent), staying longer (9.7 nights), are more satisfied, and in some instances, have come in record numbers.
Fiji had never seen so many Australians in a single month as it did in September, followed by great success in NZ, USA, and the Pacific Islands.
Despite chaotic airports and missing luggage in some countries, Fiji was able to lift satisfaction rates from 89 per cent to 93 per cent, host numerous sports and business events and win several accolades for our re-opening and recovery.
Accolades include winning gold at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Mumbrella and Pressie Awards, and winning Best Adventure, Best Cruise and Breakthrough Destination of the Year.
Conde Nast Traveler readers also voted Fiji as the No.1 island destination in the South Pacific.