When TravelManagers’ Belinda Hackett boarded the recent inaugural Sydney to Nadi flight with Fiji Airways, she was excited to see for herself what kind of experience her customers can expect as travel between Australia and Fiji resumes in a post-COVID era.
Knowing that customers would be anxious to understand the procedures and safeguards that have been put in place by both airlines and government, Hackett, who is TravelManagers’ representative for The Oaks, NSW, has written about her recent Fiji travel experience.
Having revisited many of her favourite Fijian resorts during her five-day stay, Hackett is happy to report that they are looking spectacular and COVID ready to welcome their Australian guests.
“I was delighted to accept the invitation to join the inaugural flight on 1 December: it’s been a long time between cocktails, and I couldn’t wait to return to this beautiful destination which has been so special to me and my customers over many years as a travel agent.”
“Everywhere we went, we were greeted by the same familiar, beautiful Bula spirit that makes Fiji a truly special destination. After such a long absence, it was wonderful to greet so many familiar faces and see for myself that even though much has changed in the way of international travel, some things remain the same.”
According to Hackett, the Fiji Government has taken great care to ensure that resorts, transport and tourism operators attained their accreditation with the Fiji Care Commitment, which applies strict health and safety guidelines to ensure the safety of both guests and staff.
“Protecting visitors against Covid-19 is taken very seriously in Fiji,” she confirms.
Hackett explains there is a range of COVID-related protections in place, including a negative PCR test by an approved provider for all travellers aged twelve years and over within 72 hours of departing Australia, an Australian Government International Vaccine certificate and proof of an accommodation booking in a CFC approved resort for a minimum of three days, plus a further PCR test within 48 hours of leaving Fiji to return to Australia.
“It may seem like a lot, but in my experience, the PCR testing process was quick, simple and highly efficient: I had my results in hand within fifteen hours of taking the test.”
Visitors to Fiji are free to travel around the nation as long as they are using a Care Fiji Commitment (CFC) provider or are transferring to another CFC-accredited resort.
Hackett believes customers will benefit from the excellent supplier relationships which she and her fellow PTMs have with accredited operators, and that her expertise in navigating the various international travel and documentation requirements will ensure that their holidays are as stress-free and seamless as ever.
“Regardless of what happens with Delta, Omicron or any other variants that may arise, customers who book with an experienced travel professional like me can travel with absolute confidence, secure in the knowledge that they have someone there to provide every possible assistance at every stage in their holiday.”
With an estimated 120,000 Fiji-based hospitality workers having lost their jobs over the course of the pandemic, Hackett confirms that the Fijian people are ready to start the process of recovery.
“Having this experience and first-hand knowledge of what my clients can expect has been invaluable. The Fijian people are so happy to once again be welcoming international visitors to their beautiful country.”
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