Any hope for international travel in 2020 has been resting on the proposed formation of travel bubbles and travel corridors. Fiji, however, have brought a new concept to the table: VIP lanes – aka “Vacation in Paradise”.
The idea allows for Australian and New Zealand tourists to travel to Fiji so long as they stay within a designated ‘Bula Bubble’ on the island. Essentially, tourists would be distanced from local communities but they will finally be able to enjoy the luxuries of relaxing within a Fijian resort. The government has already started looking for “geographically-isolated resorts” to be included in the Bula Bubble.
“Working with Fiji Airways and Tourism Fiji, we’ll be welcoming Aussies and Kiwis to holiday in Fiji in a manner that is carefully controlled and safely insulated,” said Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.
“To be clear, any tourist who comes to Fiji on these terms still won’t be able to move freely throughout the country. All of their movement will be contained within the VIP lanes, starting on the airplane, then from the Nadi Airport onto designated transport to their designated resort or hotel, where they’ll remain throughout their stay,” he added.
To be eligible for the ‘Bula Bubble’, Australians and New Zealanders will need to present a medical certificate showing they have been isolated for 14 days before travel and have tested negative to COVID-19 within 48 hours of departure for Fiji.
If travellers prefer, there is also the option of isolating for 14-days upon arrival in Fiji instead. However, they would be required to stay in a government-designated quarantine centre or hotel at their own expense and pass a COVID-19 test in order to continue travelling.
Fiji is also planning to establish “blue lanes” for those arriving to the country by boat. Entry will be limited to Port Denarau Marina, and travellers who have been at sea for less than 14 days will be required to complete the balance of the isolation period at dock before entering Fiji. They also need to test negative to coronavirus before they can disembark.
While there is no set start date for the scheme, Fiji is eager to see the return of their biggest tourism markets (Australia and New Zealand) after achieving no new coronavirus cases since April.
The Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern are yet to comment on the VIP Lane proposal but if it was to go ahead, a Fijian resort holiday is certainly not a bad way to wait out the coronavirus.