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Australia department of health says the Government is only negotiating travel bubble with NZ
11:27 pm GMT+12, 25/06/2020, Australia

A spokesman for the Department of Health says the Australian Government is not negotiating any travel bubble with any countries other than New Zealand at this stage.
 
“The Australian Government is closely monitoring developments in our region and beyond, recognising the economic benefits that a phased resumption of international travel could bring,” the spokesman said.
 
“In the meantime, our primary concern continues to be the health and safety of Australians”.
 
The coronavirus pandemic has devastated economies around the world but Fiji's heavy dependence on tourism has meant it has been hit particularly hard by international travel bans.
 
“We have a little over 100,000 employees who are no longer employed and there isn't anything else that they can turn to except go back to the land that many of these people have access to do sustainable farming for themselves,” Fantasha Lockington, chief executive of the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association, said.
 
Around one in nine Fijians work in the tourism industry and it is responsible for more than a third of Fiji's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
 
“There is no other industry that can take its place,” Lockington said.
 
“The only way that we can kickstart our economy very, very quickly is to get those borders open and to bring in the international visitors.”
 
Lockington believes some tourists will still want to come to Fiji despite the quarantine requirements, though she hopes they could be eased in the future.
 
“Most of the times there are resorts that you could stay at that can provide you with everything that you need,” she said.
 
“Having said that we still feel that there should be a little bit more freedom provided to holidaymakers … so that you can choose to stay in a couple of different places if that's the way you are inclined”.
 
Like Fiji's tourism operators, travel agents in Australia are also doing it extremely tough with most of their business dependent on international travel.
 
Tom Manwaring, chairman of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, said if Fiji was reopened there would be plenty of people eager to head there for a holiday.
 
“Tourists are really after sunshine, the ocean, sand, nice food, great people, so Fiji is one of those attractive, close locations in the Pacific,” he said.
 
But until the requirement that international travellers arriving in Australia have to be isolated for two weeks is relaxed, Manwaring does not think many people will take up the opportunity to holiday abroad.
 
“Because obviously, people can't go on a holiday for eight or 10 days and then have to be isolated for another two weeks,” he said.

SOURCE: ABC/PACNEWS



 


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