Fiji Welcomes Vaccinated Travelers As the Omicron Variant Begins to Affect Travel
The island paradise of Fiji reopened to tourists this week even as much of the world is reimposing stricter travel restrictions amid the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Fiji started welcoming fully vaccinated tourists from "Travel Partner countries" on Wednesday, including the United States, allowing them to arrive quarantine-free, according to Tourism Fiji. Travelers must be vaccinated with either the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. All travelers 12 and older must show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within three days of their departure from a hospital, doctor, or lab.
Visitors must also book a minimum three-night stay at a Care Fiji Commitment-certified property, take a rapid COVID-19 test 48 hours after their arrival, and have proof of insurance that covers COVID-19. During the first 48 hours, travelers are allowed to explore, but are asked to use Care Fiji Commitment operators and tourism experiences and check in using QR codes.
Travelers can arrive with unvaccinated children.
"#FijisOpen," Tourism Fiji tweeted on Wednesday. "Today was a welcome like no other. We welcomed visitors on the first flight with @FijiAirways, full of friends, families & loved ones who are the first of many making the most of q'tine free travel, our sunshine, smiles & welcoming Bula Spirit. #OpenForHappiness."
The border opening comes as Fiji said it has vaccinated 90% of its adult population. But it also comes as countries all around the world have closed to tourism or imposed stricter restrictions as the new Omicron variant has begun to circulate around the globe.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced all international travelers, including U.S. citizens, will be required to show proof of a negative test for COVID-19 taken within one day of their flight, regardless of their vaccination status. Biden also extended a federal transportation mask mandate until at least March 18.
Similarly, other countries have imposed stricter entry requirements like France, which is mandating all visitors from outside the European Union provide proof of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours of their planned arrival in addition to showing proof that they are vaccinated. And neighboring Germany implemented a lockdown for unvaccinated citizens on Thursday, while Israel closed its borders to foreigners completely.
The World Health Organization has also urged at-risk groups not to travel to areas with community transmission, including people who aren't fully vaccinated and are at increased risk of developing severe disease or dying, including people 60 years old or older.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.