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The Fijian Government's Blue Lane initiative has to some extent opened up our borders with close to 90 yachts visiting Fiji so far.
While speaking at the press conference after the Pacific Panel for Indo-Pacific Business Forum, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that these yachts were of different sizes and had various numbers of people traveling on them.
“The initiative worked well because we said that the sailing time is as long as nobody gets on or off from the point of departure, which serves as the quarantine period also. If someone sails to Denarau and has not completed their 14 day quarantine period they can spend the remaining days at the Wailoaloa bay area under the supervision of our naval officers.”
The AG added that these tourists will only be allowed on land after testing negative for COVID-19.
“There are people on board using our services, they buy fruits and vegetables, they go to the supermarket and some may spend a few days at a hotel or resort as our rates are currently fantastic.
“It generates economic activities and creates jobs so this brings back people to jobs they had to let go off because there was no activity at all.”
The AG added that once the borders open the Government will be able to strategise and gauge the movement of people.
“Fiji’s tourism sector has been largely dependent on the family market where hotels were always full during New Zealand and Australia school holidays.
“We were told that it would take three to four years to reach the levels we had pre-pandemic and the challenge for us would be to hasten that pace. All of this would be assisted if we had the vaccine.”
In addition, the AG said that in all international forums, Fiji has been stating that the Pacific Island countries and smaller island states which are COVID contained with very few cases should be pushed up the vaccine list.
“We cannot be pushed down to the bottom because sometimes you can be punished for your own success. People may say you are COVID contained, you don’t need it. In fact, this will further marginalise us because it will restrict people from traveling to Fiji.”.
SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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