Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism, and Transport, Faiyaz Siddiq Koya Fiji is re-positioning and re-prioritising itself to support business continuity, as part of our economic recovery.

Koya made the comments at the 32nd Joint Meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Commission for East-Asia and the Pacific and the Commission for South Asia that was held virtually for the first time in history.

The COVID-19 outbreak, with its unprecedented global travel restrictions, made it necessary to cancel the physical 32nd Joint Meeting in Sri Lanka this year, and to hold it virtually.

Given consideration to the pandemic, the 32nd Joint Meeting focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the global tourism sector and the key recommendations for recovery.

During the Ministerial intervention, Minister Koya highlighted Fiji’s quick response in containment and gradually resuming economic activity.

Koya said the Fijian Government has implemented a number of strategies to re-establish the Fijian economy and get the tourism industry back on its feet.

Fiji’s intervention also highlighted steps taken to restart travel and tourism.

This includes the establishment of the Bula Bubble, the Vacation in Paradise Lane and the Blue Lane to allow safe, seamless travel.

Travel restrictions introduced in response to the pandemic, are slowly being eased, allowing tourism to restart in a number of destinations.

The latest research by the UNWTO shows that 22 per cent of all destinations worldwide have started to ease restrictions.

The gradual lifting of restrictions in some countries, together with the creation of travel corridors, resumption of some international flights and enhanced safety and hygiene protocols, are among the measures being introduced by Governments as they look to restart tourism.

While April was expected to be one of the busiest times of the year due to the Easter holidays, the near-universal introduction of travel restrictions led to a fall of 97 per cent in international tourist arrivals.

The Joint Meeting concluded by calling all public and private sector players to collaborate and share best practices to ensure tourism remains a positive catalyst for sustainable development in the region.

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