Countries around the world are seeing growth in tourism numbers. Both bucket-list trips and domestic destinations are reporting high numbers of travelers – many reaching pre-Covid levels.
Islands, in particular, are seeing a strong resurgence in travel, including the island nation of Fiji.
“We are seeing an incredible number of visitors to Fiji at the moment, especially from outside the US and Canadian markets,” said Brent Hill, CEO of Tourism Fiji. “In fact, December arrivals to Fiji were 102% of December 2019 figures globally. The US was 97% of December 2019 numbers and Canada was 135% of December 2019.”
“We are seeing some shifts in demographics, especially for our North American visitors. We’ve always been seen as a luxury honeymoon destination in this market, but we’re seeing a lot more families – especially multi-generational – traveling to Fiji,” says Hill. “In general, I think a lot of travelers are realizing post-Covid that they don’t want to wait for those bucket list trips, they want to take them now.” He adds that many of these large group bookings are to mark missed milestones like birthdays days and anniversaries that occurred during the pandemic.
How travel bookings look different post-Covid
One big change Brent is seeing is that shorter booking windows are becoming the norm. He notes that he sees travelers book trips from 0 to 21 days in advance of actual travel dates. “Americans still tend to book further afield than most travelers to Fiji, but we’ve seen that shrink significantly since covid,” says Brent. “Our visitors also stay longer. The average night stay is up to 9.7 nights from 5 nights before COVID. Visitor spending is also increasing, which is incredibly promising for Fiji as tourism accounts for 40% of the country’s GDP.”
Fiji’s traditional busy season has always been from June to August, coinciding with Fiji’s winter holidays and North America’s summer holidays. But Brent notes that Fiji is seeing more and more travelers arriving during the season, which still has good weather and offers better prices and hotel availability. Fiji also sees a large increase in Americans traveling to Fiji over the Thanksgiving holiday.
In terms of what travelers need to visit Fiji – they no longer need a negative covid test but must show proof of vaccination and travel insurance.
Every destination has misconceptions about it and Brent explains that Fiji is more accessible than most people think. “Not only do we offer a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets, but usually many of your resort meals and activities are also included in your price. Also, Fiji is a no-tipping culture, so you are not expected to tip everywhere you go. Tipping is considered generous and is never expected. Finally, the US dollar is strong in Fiji. Currently, 1 US dollar is equal to 2 Fijian dollars.
What are some insider tips?
Visit during low season or in season. January – March is traditionally the low season, which tends to be more humid, but travelers can get great prices during this time. It’s also a great time for diving. Diving is very popular in Fiji, which is why the island is often considered the soft coral capital of the world. Divers can expect vibrant, healthy corals and thriving marine life. This country is also home to some of the longest barrier reefs in the world, such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Astrolabe Reef. There are over 150 PADI dive centers in Fiji, so there is plenty of marine life to explore.