Fiji more popular with Kiwi tourists now than it was pre-COVID-19

An idyllic island with a boat in a coral reef in Fiji.
An idyllic island with a boat in a coral reef in Fiji. Photo credit: Getty Images

Fiji has marked one year since it reopened its borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the first Pacific Islands to do so - a move it is now celebrating as a success, especially with Kiwis. 

October 2022 had slightly more (103 percent) bookings from New Zealand than the same month in 2019, according to Tourism Fiji.

Kiwis now make up 26 percent of visitors to the nation, which is a greater proportion than pre-pandemic, the government agency said.

Allianz Partners also reported a 200 percent increase in the travel insurance policies sold to Kiwis for trips to Fiji in the June to September quarter compared to the same period in 2019.

Although tourists are welcome in Fiji without testing or quarantining, it's still taking precautions against the virus; all visitors must have travel insurance and those aged 16 or over must be vaccinated.

Certified tourism operators in the country also have rigorous COVID-19 measures in place as part of the Care Fiji Commitment programme, which was implemented by Tourism Fiji.

The country has so far reported 878 deaths from the virus after recording more than 68,000 cases.

In addition to Fiji's reopened borders, the end of managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) requirements for New Zealanders returning to Aotearoa this year also saw an uptick of Kiwis heading across the Pacific.

The rebounding tourism industry is hugely important for Fiji, previously accounting for 40 percent of its GDP. 

"Similar to Kiwis, the resilience of the Fijian people, the care we show for each other and our communities, our natural hospitality, and our commitment to welcoming back visitors is why Fiji has been successful in standing out as a destination," said Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill.

"It's been wonderful to welcome back international visitors for the last 12-months and to see a steady increase in numbers as the world gets used to travelling again.

"The recovery trajectory for visitor arrivals has exceeded our expectations and the impact can be seen in our economy with tourists buzzing in resorts, towns, and villages as people experience the true Fiji."

Tourism Fiji has also reported tourists staying longer than they did pre-pandemic (on average 9.7 nights, versus the previous five) along with a 12 percent increase in the average amount of money a foreign tourist spends on holiday.