Australians flocking to Fiji, but we’ve fallen from grace on UK lists

Fiji was the favourite post-lockdown overseas destination for Aussie travellers, with the holiday haven visited more than traditionally popular destinations New Zealand, the UK and the US in December 2021.

The Pacific Island nation opened its borders to Australians after being closed for 20 months.

The latest ABS figures show more than 8000 trips were taken to Fiji in December – 15 per cent of all short-term resident returns, ahead of the US (6640 trips) and the UK (5610 trips).

“Fiji is an incredible destination for Australians; it is so much closer than most Aussies realise and has so much to offer, whatever you’re looking for,” says Tourism Fiji chief Brent Hill.

“As confidence in overseas travel returns and it becomes easier and easier to fly to and from Fiji, we are seeing more and more bookings, and many first-timers are taking advantage of our never seen before deals. Forward bookings are looking very good, which fills us with optimism for the rest of 2022-23 that our plans are working well. Fiji is well and truly ‘Open for Happiness’.”

Read: Travel to Fiji is now cheaper and easier

Little wonder the nation was so popular, and should continue to prove so, with incredible hotel and flight packages starting from $999. Fully vaccinated Aussies can enjoy quarantine-free travel to Fiji with a negative rapid antigen test before departure to Fiji and prior to returning. However, travellers must stay in a Care Fiji Commitment approved hotel for the first three days to avoid low vaccinated areas.

Australians may be flocking to Fiji, but UK residents reckon Australia is the last place they’d want to be right now.

Read: Rebel Wilson welcomes fully vaccinated tourists back to Fiji

A recent UK survey revealed Brits ranked Australia last among their desired holiday destinations, placing us well behind North and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The Redfield & Wilton Strategies study revealed 64 per cent of 1500 UK respondents knew Australia was reopening its borders, but very few said they were interested in visiting.

While coronavirus uncertainty, and confusing COVID guidelines and restrictions are partly to blame, UK polling revealed travellers are just as put off by long flights and high prices.

Read: What to see in the UK in 2022

The study suggested that Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions “had not turned off the British”, with only 10 per cent saying it turned them off Australia as a preferred destination.

Tourism Australia has just shelled out around $56 million on its new Don’t go small, Go Australia global campaign to encourage UK, North American and European tourists to come and visit, but according to The Sydney Morning Herald there has been little interest in our nation.

Do you care that Brits and other overseas tourists aren’t super keen on coming Australia right now? Why not share your thoughts about the state of tourism in the comments section below?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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