With plenty of progress being made on a COVID-19 vaccine and travel ‘bubble’ discussions becoming more and more promising, there’s a feeling among tourism industry circles that quarantine-free international travel is not far away from becoming a reality for Australians.
But while your clients are no doubt itching for an overseas holiday, their decision on where to go will be more carefully considered than ever before. They’ll want to feel safe and confident from beginning to end of the trip, and they’ll probably want to stick fairly close to home just in case borders begin closing again.
At the same time, your clients will want to quickly regain those feelings of excitement, relaxation and pure happiness commonly associated with taking a holiday abroad.
Fiji was a hugely popular destination for Aussie travellers prior to the pandemic, and it has been patiently preparing for their inevitable return, when the time is right.
Here are five solid reasons why your clients should be saying bula to Fiji once Australia’s international travel ban is lifted:
1. It’s a safe option for Australians
Fiji is one of the few destinations in the world that is now COVID-contained, having gone more than 263 days without local community transmission, according to that latest update from the country’s Ministry of Health.
Its success of keeping coronavirus at bay is a result of quick thinking from the Fijian government, with local lockdowns and curfews put in place early on to control the spread.
There is a 14-day hotel quarantine requirement for all arrivals to Fiji, and while the destination is currently closed to most tourists, the government has established ‘Blue Lanes’ for yachts and pleasure craft wanting to explore its many beautiful islands.
Fiji also offers destination-wide assurance for the health and safety of visitors and locals via its recently launched Care Fiji Commitment.
Developed in partnership with the Fijian government and Tourism Fiji, and in line with the World Health Organization, the comprehensive six-point program includes enhanced standards of safety, health protocols and measures so that the country can safely welcome back international visitors.
Fiji’s hotels, tour operators and attractions have adopted a COVID-safe mentality by providing enhanced sanitisation and social distancing measures. There are now even ‘Wellness Ambassadors’ at every hotel to help manage any guests that may have symptoms.
The country’s national carrier, Fiji Airways, is also travel-ready with new safety and hygiene measures on board all flights.
Members of Fiji’s tourism industry have had to complete an online training program and pass theoretical tests before qualifying as COVID-safe.
It’s expected that travellers also carry some responsibility in protecting Fiji and its locals from the threat of COVID-19 by adhering to social distancing and sanitation rules, and by downloading the CareFIJI contact tracing app.
As an English-speaking country, Fiji also offers comfort and familiarity to Aussies who visit, and the charm of its friendly locals will easily turn them into return travellers.
2. It’s closer to Australia than you think
For travellers wanting to stay closer to home once Australia’s international border reopens, Fiji is a great option, offering tropical climates but just a short flight away.
Flights from the east coast of Australia are from 3.5 hours in duration, and are just under four hours from Sydney.
3. There is something for everyone
Most Australians know Fiji as a family destination, but there’s something for every type of traveller.
When it comes to accommodation, Fiji has everything from affordable backpacker-style properties such as Fiji Beach House and Barefoot Kuata; to adults-only resorts like Tropica Island Resort Fiji, Royal Davui Island Resort and Likuliku Lagoon Resort; to established chains like Hilton, Sofitel and Shangri-La; to properties with villas and multi-room residences for multi-generational travel like Six Senses Fiji, First Landing Beach Resort and Villas, Kokomo Private Island Fiji, and Vomo.
There are plenty of family-friendly and all-inclusive packages on offer for those of your clients wanting a chilled resort holiday in Fiji, along with some incredible nannies and kids’ clubs that make a family holiday stress-free.
If cruising is more your clients’ style, there are a number of small ships that offer both long voyages and short add-ons.
Oh, and did we mention Fiji’s world-class surfing and diving, or the range of trekking and inland adventures to be had?
Internationally-renowned outdoor warrior Bear Grylls recently filmed his TV show, World’s Toughest Race, in Fiji, which showcased an abundance of the country’s adrenaline adventures including white-water rafting, abseiling, ziplining and hiking.
4. Tourism helps the locals
Tourism makes up 35 to 40 per cent of Fiji’s GDP, and with borders having been closed for several months, it’s a very challenging time for the destination economically, not to mention the one in eight locals who work in the industry.
What’s more is that tourism is by far the most significant industry among Fiji’s international trade services sectors, with Australian visitors account for approximately 48 per cent of all arrivals, followed by New Zealand (23 per cent).
5. Visitors will leave feeling happy
With year-round warmth, fresh local produce and a laid-back, tropical island lifestyle, it comes as no surprise that Fijians are genuinely happy people.
In fact, Fijians are the happiest people in the world, according to Gallup International’s annual global survey on happiness, hope and optimism.
The way Fijians live – in villages all caring for each other, in the moment, and at a slower pace – encourages oxytocin, the happy chemical.
In neuroscience, emotional contagion is recognised as the phenomenon of having one person’s emotions and related behaviours directly trigger similar emotions and behaviours in other people. So, if you are around happy and relaxed people, you will feel and absorb that energy.
Featured image source: Tourism Fiji