A COVID-19 special: A safe destination

Tourism Fiji’s role is to provide regular communications to key stakeholders, supporting our industry, getting messages to tourists and providing regular inspiration so that Fiji is kept at the top of minds. Picture: FIJI.TRAVEL

Our Care Fiji Commitment (CFC) Program is one of the cornerstones of Fiji’s market reentry plans that clearly outlines various safety protocols and procedures to protect Fijians and tourists alike says Tourism Fiji chief executive officer Brent Hill.

The program was a collaboration of work between Tourism Fiji and the Ministry of Health & Medical Services, and the Fijian Government through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport and our industry partners is a destination-wide approach that ensures that tourism operators and industry as a whole are fully aware of what to do and align with international standards and best practices as far as COVID-19 is concerned.

Mr Hill said close to 200 businesses have registered for CFC since they launched it last year with more signing up every day.

“I think the industry as a whole will be careful and conscious of people’s safety and I know they will follow all protocols safely. It’s important that Fiji grows our reputation for safety and family friendliness,” he said.

While everyone’s waiting patiently for the national border to re-open Mr Hill said as an organisation Tourism Fiji has been working with the government and the tourism industry promoting Fiji as a safe destination for visitors to choose from the dozens of options available to them.

“Since Fiji’s borders were closed, we have not been able to promote this country that we love, but we look forward to going out and actively doing so as soon as the official announcement is made. “We already have a number of campaigns in place and are working on our major campaign, which is so exciting, to be focused again on attracting tourists to Fiji, which is what we love to do.

“The tourism industry can look forward to more employment, the fl ow on effect to the economy, and feeling really good about ourselves and our futures again.” Having worked in Australia before taking up his new role he said COVID-19 has impacted the entire world and has drastically changed the way people do business.

“The economic loss is enormous, to the industry and those who work in it. And of course, we can’t underestimate the mental side — everyone has been running on edge and pivoting for two years now, and that has taken a toll on many. “To say we can’t wait for borders to reopen so we can start again doing what we love is an understatement! Mr Hill said Tourism Fiji’s role has been significant — providing regular communications to key stakeholders, supporting our industry, getting messages to tourists and providing regular inspiration so that Fiji is kept top of mind.

“And, when we finally started to see a pathway out of this through vaccination, we’ve done everything we could to support that vaccination drive and getting the information out to the world about Fiji — and our preparedness for opening. “We are excited about the re-opening of local (domestic) borders and our team looks forward to promoting our “Love Our Locals” campaign again as we await the reopening of the international borders. The team — both those based in Fiji and those around the world, are working particularly hard to prepare communications and work with the tourism trade to once again reopen. “There is an incredible amount of work to be done, and this is one step closer to our goal — a significant step.”

He added that some ways we could best engage to ensure that the industry we build back is more sustainable and more inclusive than it was prior to the pandemic is ensuring we don’t overly rely on just one market.

“We couldn’t foresee what would happen with a global pandemic, but if we do grow our market share and diversify our markets around the world, that will help us going forward. “We also want to encourage tourists to embrace sustainable travel, so we will highlight those operators that are doing amazing work like coral farming, turtle regeneration, manta ray tagging and conservation, and using sustainable, eco-friendly methods with building, renovations, and improvements.

“We want tourists to buy into the need to improve the world’s record on climate change — to not just protect our reefs and beaches by reducing waste but asking tourists to help keep our Islands pristine.

“We are even providing advice on things such as eco-friendly sunscreen, eco transport options and how to offset travel — it all helps.”

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