29 Jun 2020

Australia travel ban extension 'worst-case' scenario for Fiji - FHTA

2:07 pm on 29 June 2020

The head of Fiji's Hotels and Tourism Association says Australia's plan to extend its international travel ban to possibly next year is the "worst-case" scenario for Fiji and the Pacific region.

Last week Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announced his government's so-called "Bula Bubble" scheme of reopening its borders to Australia and New Zealand to attract visitors to Fiji.

The FHTA's Fantasha Lockington said recent reports that Qantas had cancelled its flights up to October and comments from Australia's tourism minister that they were probably not going to allow international travel until 2021, were a concern for Fiji.

Fantasha Lockington.

Fantasha Lockington. Photo: Supplied/FHTA

"Whilst we were not expecting anything to happen before September or October, we were of the opinion this could stretch out to the end of the year. That was never considered but it was the worst-case scenario."

However, Ms Lockington said the people of Fiji would not starve as "they would find a way to survive by planting and fishing and working together as a community".

She said Australia and New Zealand accounted for about 70 percent of visitors to Fiji annually.

Meanwhile the Fiji government received a further $US4.5 million from Australia this week to help support its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month Australia released $US84m as part of its relief assistance to Fiji due to the pandemic.

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Photo: RNZ