Travel SOS: When will Fiji cruises be up and running again?

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Paul received an email inviting him to book a cruise to Fiji and wants to know if he is able to take up the offer.

Q. Paul
I have previously taken cruises around Fiji and recently received an email from the company that I sailed with explaining that cruises were still running and inviting me to book. Am I able to take a Fiji cruise now or is this email mistaken? I would love to go back to Fiji and support their tourism industry as it has been so long since I have been able to go anywhere.

A. It is great that you want to support Fiji’s tourism industry as it was one of the hardest-hit by the global pandemic.

Read more: No ‘old normal’ for tourism

The country had 43 per cent fewer visitor arrivals between December 2019 and April 2020 when compared to previous years.

The restrictions on travel throughout the year and into 2021 have seen that downturn worsen and the Fijian economy continues to be affected. It is worth noting that tourism makes up around 38 per cent of Fiji’s GDP.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to take up the offer you received in your email just yet.

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While companies that offer Fiji cruises have continued to operate during the pandemic, Australia’s international border restrictions mean you will still be unable to make your way to a port to join one of these cruises.

Most likely the email you received was sent to everyone on the mailing list in the hope of reaching those currently residing in Fiji, who had previously taken a cruise, to inform them that cruises are still running.

Captain Cook Cruises, probably the largest cruise operator, has revised its Fiji program to cater for locals, but is still waiting for a travel bubble with Australia to be announced before opening up cruises to international visitors.

Read more: What is the best way to travel around WA solo?

In terms of when you might be able to travel to Fiji, the federal government recently announced that Australia’s international borders will remain closed until 17 June.

There is some possibility of a travel bubble between Australia and Fiji being announced before that date, but given the government has yet to secure a two-way travel bubble with New Zealand, it is looking unlikely that it will announce a Fiji bubble any time before at least 17 June.

Tourism minister Dan Tehan is working on a plan to open up a Singapore travel bubble, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, which could open a potential pathway to international travel in the region before 17 June.

While you may have to ignore the chance to travel to Fiji immediately, with the vaccination program underway, you may still be able to start cruising through the region sometime this year.

Have you ever taken a cruise around Fiji? What did you think? Would you be keen to travel there again?

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Written by Ben


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