American tourists will soon be able to enjoy the palm-lined beaches of Fiji again.
On Sept. 16, Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Vorege Bainimarama announced the South Pacific nation has developed a phased reopening plan that will allow tourists from “green list” countries to visit without quarantine.
The first stage of the plan will begin when at least 80% of Fiji’s adult residents are fully vaccinated, which could be as early as November.
Currently, around 62% of the country’s adults are fully vaccinated, and 97% have received at least one vaccine dose.
Bainimarama said that Fiji’s reopening is also dependent “on the vaccination rates of other countries as well as a great deal of work behind the scenes,” but the archipelago is “ticking every box of readiness.”
He also emphasized that safety is a top priority.
“For the sake of the tens of thousands of Fijians, and their families, who depend on our tourism industry, we are also preparing to reopen Fiji as one of the world’s safest tourism destinations,” Bainimarama said.
According to Bainimarama, Fiji’s green list will include countries that use the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines and have “similarly high rates of vaccination to ours and low test-positivity rates.”
Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and “parts of the USA” should make the list, according to a report by USA Today.
The report did not make clear which regions of the U.S. would be included.
Under Fiji’s plan, international tourists must be fully vaccinated and fill out an online application seeking pre-departure approval for entry. Upon arrival, they must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of travel.
Tourists are restricted to “travel safe” areas for the first five days of their stay. After five days, they can move freely throughout the archipelego if they receive a second negative COVID-19 test result.
According to CNN, Fiji’s tourism industry is thrilled with the government’s reopening announcement.
“We are anticipating a strong opening for those looking to celebrate the holidays under a palm tree,” said Christopher Southwick, who runs the Royal Davui Island Resort.
Approximately 40% of the nation’s gross national product is tied to tourism.