Fiji Has Not Given Up On ‘Bula Bubble’ With New Zealand

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Fiji is continuing to push for a travel bubble between its major tourist markets Australia and New Zealand.

Fiji’s borders have been closed since last March and with New Zealand and Australia still battling Covid-19 cases at home, the wait may be longer.

But the government said Fiji had proven itself as a safe destination for travels during the pandemic with no community cases recorded for more than 300 days.

Tourism Minister Faiyaz Koya said the government was optimistic its regional partners would come to the table.

Koya said visitors would still need to meet the requirements under the ‘Bula Bubble’ scheme.

“We have not forgotten the ‘Bula Bubble’,” he said.

“Fiji is in high-level discussions with our Australian and New Zealand counterparts to actually see if we can facilitate quarantine-free travel.

“Again, this cannot happen overnight and there are a whole host of things to consider, and we will continue to lobby for travel with our largest markets.”

The minister said the government would continue to work with industry partners through the Tourism Recovery Team to address operational challenges and border reopening strategies.

But Opposition MP Ro Filipe Tuisawau said global and local reports on the world’s economies had stated otherwise.

The Social Democratic Liberal Party member said the latest report issued by the Reserve Bank of Fiji had clearly indicated that ‘global economic conditions remained fragile due to the daily increase in Covid-19 cases in many parts of the world’.

“The ‘Bula Bubble’, as already mentioned, we do not know when that will happen given the current news that we have about these various strains,” he said.

“The largest-ever economic contraction in 2020, poses the greatest challenge for a narrow-based economy like ours.

“The performance of key sectors of our economy continues to decline and unfortunately, the honourable Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport has not mentioned it.”

Meanwhile, the government said while Australia and New Zealand had yet to open their borders to Fiji, the country was ready.

It said the ‘Bula Bubble’ was created because the majority of Fiji’s tourists came from Australia and New Zealand.

Prior to the pandemic, Fiji had expected nearly one million visitors to its shores last year.

(Source: STUFF NZ / RNZ)

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