Pacific Business briefs

Free Bird Limited has signed a contract with Air New Zealand to bring its international students back to Fiji on 27 December 2020.  Chief Operating Officer, Mereseini Baleilevuka said, “This is a great opportunity for not only our business but also our country and our people. We need to start opening our borders and welcoming back visitors and international students in a COVID-safe manner and we are proud to pave the way for Fiji in this regard. We intend to bring in at least 100 students on this flight for both our language and high school departments.” All students arriving in Fiji on this flight will go into mandatory isolation for 14 days at a government approved quarantine facility at their own cost.


New Zealand is providing NZ$390,000 to the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) to support sustainable tourism development and digital marketing in the Pacific. The grant will support SPTO capability development, COVID-19 recovery, digitalization of Pacific tourism, development of climate resilient and sustainable tourism and sector insights. Meanwhile SPTO has signed an MoU with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to enable strategic collaboration on sustainable tourism and the conservation of natural and cultural heritage.

“This partnership comes at a critical time for SPTO, as we embark on the development of the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework and the Pacific Tourism Statistics Strategy. Whilst the impacts of COVID-19 have been particularly devastating for tourism, it also presents an opportunity to rethink our industry and commit to recovery efforts, which will enable sustainable, inclusive and responsible tourism for our region,” says Christopher Cocker, Chief Executive Officer of SPTO


Fiji Airways continues to operate repatriation flights from Brisbane and Sydney, Australia this month.

The flights will operate on November 18 and 22, with details available on the airline’s Travel Alerts page.

Fijian and Australian citizens, plus approved non-citizens can travel to their respective destinations. Quarantine restrictions still apply in both countries, and Fiji Airways has a number of conditions to fly under its Travel Ready program.


Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu, could become a significant part of the nation’s tourism recovery efforts through targeted investments.

An IFC Vanua Levu Tourism Market Demand Assessment has found national tourism earnings could potential increase by F$339 million om government projections if investment attracts high-value markets such as those focused on nature and adventure, scuba diving and yachting, weddings and honeymoon; and expedition cruises.

“While it may be difficult to reliably forecast when international arrivals will return to Fiji at this stage, the Fijian Government has the ability to position itself for the future by focusing on high value and ‘first to rebound’ markets,” Deva De Silva, IFC resident representative in Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu and Samoa, said. “It is critical in Fiji’s tourism recovery efforts that the investment conditions are right to attract the right investors to Vanua Levu to boost tourism and create jobs.”

The study says the development of Vanua Levu as a key destination will require investment in a range of areas including adequate supporting infrastructure and services and improving investment conditions for the private sector. It also recommends developing the labor force for tourism, and advancing biodiversity and conservation.


Pandey Investments (Fiji) has bought a major stake in the Sheraton Tokoriki Island Resort & Spa in Fiji’s Mamanucas.

“We are incredibly proud to be entering into this new venture with our partners Fiji Holdings and the Meghji Group. Our growth in Fiji has been built on strategic asset acquisition underpinned by our partnerships with long standing business leaders and this new partnership once again reflects this. Working with hotel groups such as Marriott International gives us the confidence to invest into the Fiji Tourism Industry, even during the current times of uncertainty our industry is experiencing,” says Prakash Pandey, CEO – Pandey Investments (Fiji) Limited.

C.P Group, trading under Pan­dey Investments (Fiji) Limited have stated they will continue to look for opportunities within Fiji and abroad.


The Green Climate Fund has approved the submission of a US$49.9 million programme – of which USD$47.4 million represents the GCF grant – on Enhancing Climate Information and Knowledge Services for resilience in Cook Islands, Niue, Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and Tuvalu.

Cook Islands Prime Minister, Mark Brown, says: “This is a timely and resillient building project, given that the capture of technical climate information and data, needs to be interpreted into local and layman languages for our primary producers – such as fishermen and growers – to enable them to better plan for and address climate change and associated disasters, for their products and services.”


Tasmanian berry growers are planning to charter flights from the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste next month to fly out workers for their harvest.

Up to 700 people involved in the Seasonal Worker Program are part of the deal, negotiated by industry, and Australia’s State and Federal Governments.


The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Fiji’s Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation  are to provide families hit hardest by Tropical Cyclone Harold earlier this year with a one-time payment of F$100 in November. The payment will be made to over 10,000 recipients across parts of Central division and the provinces of Southern Lau, Kadavu, Serua, Coastal Nadroga/Navosa. This will be in addition to the regular social welfare payments provided monthly by the Ministry.


Australia is to provide US$3.6 million in financing to mitigate the impact of floods on Nadi in an effort to “save lives, reduce homelessness and protect the local economy.” The investment will be made under the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) and complements work by the Government of Japan and the Asian Development Bank.