FHTA Situational Update No. 12

SENT TO MEMBERS ON THURSDAY 2 APRIL 11.23AM
Members are requested to be aware of the following advisories:

1.  Cessation of Lautoka lockdown

The Lautoka confined area will remain locked down at least until 5am Tuesday, April 7 2020.
2. Lautoka Port reopens
Lautoka Port has been reopened for international shipping, including exports and imports. Government will continue to allow steady flows of essential food, goods and services to come into and out of Lautoka in a controlled and hygienic fashion.
3. Fiji Airways to Operate First Freighter Service
Fiji Airways will operate its first freighter flight this Sunday between Nadi and Sydney. Fiji Airways’ Airbus A350-900WXB aircraft will carry 41 tonnes of fresh produce across to Sydney.
On the return sector, the airline will assist the Fijian Ministry of Health by bringing back 11.1 tonnes of medical equipment from Sydney. The medical equipment, donated by UNICEF, consists of temperature screening tents which will be vital in the fight against COVID-19.
Importers and businesses, especially those wishing to bring in essential supplies to Fiji from Sydney this Sunday can contact their Freight Forwarders for bookings.
4. Change to FNPF’s Unemployment Assistance Policy
Inform your staff that effective 1 April 2020, the FNPF’s Unemployment Assistance policy has been revised as follows:
  • Revised amount from $2,000 to $1,000
  • Waiver of the 24 months contribution (2 years employment) requirement to qualify for a repeat withdrawal
All applications for Unemployment Assistance received from today (this is separate from the COVID-19 assistance) will be processed under the revised policy.
5. Vodafone COVID-19 Relief Package
Vodafone Fiji has announced V-CARE – a multi-faceted relief package to assist its customers cope with this global pandemic. The specifics of the V-CARE package include:
For Business Customers
  • Vodafone will provide 30% free additional data across the board on all postpaid broadband and mobile internet connections for the next 3 months.
  • Vodafone will extend the due date for payments of all monthly postpaid accounts from 30 to 90 days, allowing businesses more time to focus on other immediate needs of the business.
  • Vodafone will temporarily suspend excess to requirement mobile connections and services, as a result of slowdown in business operations for up to 3 months, without attracting any additional fees and charges.
  • Vodafone will waive the downgrade and disconnection fees and charges for the next 3 months.
  • Vodafone will put in place special arrangements for customers most affected in the SME, Tourism, Hospitality and Airline industries to work on a case by case basis to provide additional support.

For more information, visit www.vodafone.com.fj/V-Care.

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If you are not sure or simply want to check procedures or information, email us on info@fhta.com.fj or on the contact details below:

FHTA Situational Update No. 11

SENT TO MEMBERS ON WEDNESDAY 1 APRIL 1.24PM
Members are requested to be aware of the following advisory:

1. FNPF Employer Instructions

In response to members challenges in dealing with Fiji National Provident Fund, FHTA has been in contact with FNPF and provide for your information as follows:
This is for employees entitled to COVID-19 unemployment assistance; which includes employees under reduced working hours, reduced pay, job loss or leave without pay.
Employers are requested to provide the following information to this email address:
  • Registered Business/Employer name
  • Trading name (if different from registered business name)
  • Employer (FNPF) Reference number MOST IMPORTANT FOR TRACKING PURPOSES
This will allow FNPF to confirm:
  • That you have been making FNPF payments
  • your records for the last 3 months
  • your number of employees
  • your last salary paid
  • and employees no longer on your payroll
FHTA is providing our member details to FNPF to assist in the identification of your business as a bonafide tourism operator, for what we hope will hasten the process for you and your staff.
Due to the unprecedented nature and scale of the current situation around unemployment assistance due to the COVID-19 crisis, FNPF is receiving extremely high call volumes and requests that visitors and callers remain calm and patient when seeking assistance.
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If you are not sure or simply want to check procedures or information, email us on info@fhta.com.fj or on the contact details below:

FHTA Situational Update No. 10

SENT TO MEMBERS ON WEDNESDAY 1 APRIL 9.57AM
Members are requested to be aware of the following advisories:

1.  Maritime Travel Restrictions Outlined

The Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services in consultation with relevant maritime stakeholders wishes to recommend the following on all inter-island shipping movements.
Small crafts and yachts
For small crafts that intend to travel carrying important provisions between Viti Levu and closer islands – please call Maritime Surveillance Centre (MSC) on 3315380 and notify the centre on their travel intentions. The following information must be conveyed:
  1. Name of Boat Captain;
  2. Name and Number of Crew (Max of 3);
  3. Cargo;
  4. Departure and Destination Point;
  5. MSAF Issued Boat Number; and
  6. Phone Contact.
For further clarifications and queries, please do not hesitate to contact Fiji Navy on 9904618 or 7356367.
All fishing related activities
Please note that fishing for subsistence and commercial purposes will be allowed during the curfew hours, as long as fishermen leave their home ports well-before curfew hours.
For any fishing related activities and clarifications, please contact Ministry of Fisheries on 9966745 or on email mere.lakeba@govnet.gov.fj.
See the full statement HERE
2. Request for Assistance – Used Bed Linen
In a proactive move, the Ministry of Health & Medical Services is setting up more isolation centres around the country in the event of a spike in numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Fiji.
Therefore, in order for MoH&MS to achieve their goal of well-equipped isolation centres, FHTA calls for donations from members, on the Ministry’s behalf, of used but clean bed linen, such as bed-sheets and pillow cases and mattresses.
Contact the FHTA Secretariat below if you are willing and able to make a donation. Any assistance from the industry will be highly appreciated.
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If you are not sure or simply want to check procedures or information, email us on info@fhta.com.fj or on the contact details below:

FHTA Situational Update No. 9

SENT TO MEMBERS ON TUESDAY 31 MARCH 6.53PM
Members are requested to be aware of the following advisories:

1.  Automatic Renewal of Work Permits

Per Fiji Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Sunday 29 March 2020, every existing work permit in Fiji will be automatically extended for the next three months. This is in the interest of convenience and due to travel restrictions.
Once the Permanent Secretary for Immigration issues more details regarding this, we will forward this pertinent information to you.

2.  Moving Around During Curfew

For all staff that need to travel to and from home during curfew hours, please ensure that the following is adhered to.
  1. For staff travelling in company transport:
    • The driver of the vehicle has an official letter from the company stating that he/she is the authorised transport provider
    • This letter may also state the names and id numbers of the passengers in the vehicle.
    • If the letter does not contain the list of passengers, each passenger must have an official letter from the company stating the reasons why he/she needs to travel during curfew e.g. starting shift, knocking off and returning home, etc.
  2. For staff travelling in a private vehicle:
    • They must be the driver of the vehicle and possess an official letter from the company with details of car registration number, staff name and id number, and the reason why he/she needs to travel during curfew hours
  3. All staff and contracted transport providers must carry a photo id and the details of the id must match those contained within the official letter from the company.
  4. All letters issued to staff for this purpose must also contain the contact details of an authorised person that the police may call to verify any information.
  5. Details of all staff, vehicles, id numbers, movements and scanned id cards must be sent to:
Feel free to copy the FHTA Secretariat in on any correspondence.
3.  New COVID-19 Helpline
Government has announced a new toll-free helpline – 158 – to replace the four helpline numbers which had been in us since Government’s COVID-19 response operation began.
This 24-hour helpline is now active for the duration of the COVID-19 response.
4. Request for Assistance – Used Bed Linen
In a proactive move, the Ministry of Health & Medical Services is setting up more isolation centres around the country in the event of a spike in numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Fiji.
Therefore, in order for MoH&MS to achieve their goal of well-equipped isolation centres, FHTA would like to request for donations from members, on the Ministry’s behalf, of used but clean bed linen, such as bed-sheets and pillow cases and mattresses.
Contact the FHTA Secretariat below if you are willing and able to make a donation. Any assistance from the industry will be highly appreciated.
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If you seek further clarification, do not hesitate to communicate with any of the following FHTA Secretariat contacts:

FHTA Situational Update No. 8

SENT TO MEMBERS ON MONDAY MARCH 30 AT 2.10PM
Members are requested to be aware of the following six advisories:

1.  Amendment to Tax Administration Act – Waiver of Penalty for Late Lodgement

The recently announced COVID-19 Response Budget made the following amendment to the Tax Administration Act:
  • waiver of penalty for failure to file a tax return or lodge other documents by the due date, applied for all late lodgement penalties incurred after 01 April 2020 to 31 December 2020
The amendment only applies the waiver of penalty for late lodgement however Fiji Revenue & Customs Services will consider requests for deferred payment from businesses on a case by case basis.
If your business is not in a position to pay your tax in full on the due date because of the current COVID-19 crisis and its effects, FRCS has requested that you submit a written request for deferral of payment to the FRCS Acting CEO.
This request must  include the following information:
  • outline of the conditions that your business is currently in that prevents you from paying the tax due e.g. redundancy payments for staff, severely reduced income
  • timeline for payments i.e. amount that you may be able to pay and date that you are able to pay it
All written requests for deferred payment can be sent to ceo@frcs.org.fj
2.  Expression of Interest -Flights from Nadi to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Nadi
Fiji Airways is seeking interest from customers wishing to travel between Nadi and Los Angeles. The airline is exploring the possibility of recovery flights between the two ports later this week or early next week to assist in the repatriation of citizens and residents. The recovery flight details will be confirmed if there is adequate demand for these services.
Guests can register their interest by submitting a form HERE. They will be contacted by Fiji Airways representatives for ticket price and confirmation.
Fiji Airways guests holding valid tickets for Nadi-Los Angeles or Los Angeles-Nadi flights are also able to book themselves on the recovery flight at no cost by registering their interest via the submission form. Guests holding tickets to/from other US ports like San Francisco or Honolulu may also get on these flights. Any connections to/from Los Angeles will be the guests’ own responsibility. Fiji Airways is unable to uplift transit passengers on these recovery flights.
3.  Nationwide Curfew Compliance
Please be reminded that All businesses MUST comply with the requirements mentioned below, regarding the commencement of the nationwide curfew from 10 pm tonight.
Ensure that your drivers have their photo IDs and company letter on their person at all times as they will be asked to produced these when stopped at a checkpoint.
In order for the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Tourism (MITT)  to have updated records, to be forwarded to the relevant agencies, all businesses must submit:
(i)List of employees who would work in the curfew period;
(ii)Scanned copies of their company photo ID or the relevant ID that will be used during this period:
(iii)List of company vehicle registration numbers, private vehicle registration numbers and contracted taxis or buses registration numbers; and
(iv)National Contact Centre telephone number. Where there is no contact centre, a contact officer should be identified and contact details provided.
This is to assist businesses to be able to operate within the curfew hours.
Please only provide names of staff who will be working during the curfew time.  If the shifts are different each week, it is the responsibility of the business to identify which officers are being rostered for which week.  (Please do not provide the entire staff listing)
You can information directly to:
Kartik Pratap of Ministry of Industry Trade & Tourism (MITT)
Phone 2876407
Or send your staff listing to the FHTA Secretariat for assistance.
4.  Restricted Access to Denarau Island
Denarau Corporation Ltd has put in place restrictions on movement within the island. The gate will be closed daily from 9am – 4pm and 6pm – 6am and drivers will be required to tell the security where their intended destination is. All pickups from the island will require prior notification and you can do this by calling the following mobile numbers – 9996122 or 9994926.
Failure to comply will security instructions will result in vehicles being denied access. For any further information please email info@denarau.com.
5. List of FNPF-verified companies for COVID-19 Assistance
Below is a list of Companies that fall into the two categories of assistance that FNPF are providing in partnership with Government:
 Category 1  Companies in the tourism and hospitality industry nationwide.  COVID-19 $1000 Assistance – List of Affected Companies

 
 Category 2  Companies located  in a ‘locked down’ region, or have closed (permanently/temporarily)   due to travel and/or physical distancing restriction.  COVID-19 $500 Assistance – List of Affected Companies 

 
 
These lists are not final and are updated regularly. The COVID-19 assistance is prioritising areas of greater impact and this will be extended to other industries as and when applicable.
For clarification, please contact Pravinesh Singh 9998634 or email PavineshS@fnpf.com.fj or Suliano Ramanu 9998631 or email SulianoR@fnpf.com.fj.

If your business qualifies for assistance and can not be found on the list, please get in touch with the FHTA Secretariat and we will liaise on your behalf.

6. Request for Assistance – Used Bed Linen
FHTA, with the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism, would like to request for donations of used but clean bed linen from members, such as bedsheets and pillow cases and mattress, if possible.
These are to assist the Ministry of Health & Medical Services set up more isolation centres around the country.
The items could be dropped off at the MITT (Level 3, Civic Tower) or  MITT could arrange pick ups and any assistance will be highly appreciated.
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If you seek further clarification, do not hesitate to communicate with any of the following FHTA Secretariat contacts:

FHTA Situational Update No. 7

SENT TO MEMBERS ON SATURDAY MARCH 28 AT 7.26PM
Members are advised that per our previous information on inter-island resort transportation and the planned nation-wide curfew for Monday 30th March, we provide the following clarifications:
1.  Inter-island Resort Transportation 
All inter-island ferry and shipping services have ceased. You should also be considering why you still need to be out and about to protect the communities you work with and next to.
For absolutely necessary staff, freight and emergency services, any boats that intend to make trips to ports like Denarau Marina (and Lautoka & Vuda when/if the lockdown is lifted next week Friday), you must have the following:
  •  all staff must carry photo ID for where they work or their Voter ID to confirm identity
  • staff must also have a letter from the hotel or business operator noting why the staff is on board (changing shift, starting shift, is the chef, engineer, etc) and where she/he is going and coming from
  • no non-staff or non-essential staff should be carried on boats returning for fuel or freight
  • provide information BEFORE YOU MAKE THE TRIP to the Secretariat to pass on to the relevant authorities
MSAF & the Fiji Navy are tasked with maintaining inspections. Expect to be stopped and asked for an explanation and papers. 
Denarau Marina confirms they are open, but for limited services. These include a Pharmacy, Hot Bread Kitchen, fuel operators and the Marina Operations (limited services – contact Cynthia Rasch 7075650 or cynthia@denaraumarina.com).
2. Nation-wide Curfew Imposed from Mon 30th March from 10pm to 5am
Businesses not in the essential services can continue to run as best they can with the limitations on services and the curfew commencement by reviewing their operational practices and night shift work as best they can. NO PASSES ARE BEING PROVIDED. These have been abused in the past.
If your staff have to change during the curfew period, please ensure the following:
  •  all staff must carry photo ID for where they work or their Voter ID to confirm identity
  • staff must also have a letter from the hotel or business operator noting why the staff is out after curfew hours (changing shift, starting shift, is the chef, engineer, what the emergency is, etc) and where she/he is going and coming from
  • please provide the number plates for any company vehicle that are used to transfer staff with a copy of your usual shift changes (times and number of staff, names of staff if known ahead) to the FHTA Secretariat. Staff lists can be provided weekly.
  • Lists need to be provided to the FHTA Secretariat to pass on to the Police who will be manning checkpoints at various locations.
  •  any private vehicles used during curfew hours should also be provided along with drivers names
  • if staff usually get dropped off by family – consider formal company transport or a contracted service for pick up during this time.
  •  Security services should have their own reminders from their firms to carry ID, license letters and employer confirmation of duty requirement for that period.
3. Feedback to the Ministry of Tourism via their portal – a reminder to check this out and contribute by providing them with recommendations and letting them know your unique challenges.
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism have set up a page specifically for businesses to be updated on new policies and new information nationally and globally regarding COVID-19. The platform is accessed HERE. On the portal, businesses can:
  • Submit information on challenges facing current overseas suppliers, the ministry will seek alternative suppliers
  • Update Plans on laying off employees or if laying off has happened – please enter these details on the portal.
  • Access Information/feedback where you need assistance.
Please reduce the need for unnecessary complications with Police. Avoid unnecessary confrontations with security personnel (Police, Military, Navy). They are doing this to protect us, our businesses and our properties.
Please keep in mind that the less movement we are all involved with, the better our isolation and containment efforts will be and the faster we move our country and our industry back to business as normal. Take the warnings, advice and curfew imposement seriously. Pass information on to your staff and the communities you interact with.
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If you seek further clarification, do not hesitate to communicate with any of the following FHTA Secretariat contacts:

FHTA Situational Update No. 6

SENT TO MEMBERS ON FRIDAY MARCH 27 AT 9.54PM
Further to previous Situational Updates, the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association wishes to inform you of the following:
1. Recovery Flights to Australia – Expressions of Interest
 
Fiji Airways is exploring the possibility of recovery flights between Nadi and Sydney and Nadi and Brisbane on Tuesday (31 March) and/or Wednesday (1 April), to repatriate citizens and residents wishing to return home. Flight details can only be confirmed if there is adequate demand for these services.
To assist, Fiji Airways is actively seeking expressions of interest from citizens and residents currently in these cities wishing to be on these flight. This can be done by submitting a form (CLICK HERE)
The expression of interest can be submitted by Australian citizens or residents currently in Fiji wishing to return to Sydney or Brisbane only. Fijian citizens, residents and permit holders currently in Sydney or Brisbane can also register their interest to be on the return flight to Nadi. Ticket prices will be available on the form submission.
Fiji Airways guests holding valid tickets for Nadi-Sydney / Sydney-Nadi or Nadi-Brisbane/Brisbane-Nadi flights are also able to book themselves on the recovery flight at no cost by registering their interest via the online form. Guests booked on other airlines should check directly with their airline if they are able to endorse their tickets on Fiji Airways.
All guests are reminded that only bonafide citizens and residents are able to enter both Australia and Fiji at this time, and will be subject to further measures by the respective Governments on arrival. This includes either self-quarantine or self-isolation at home or a Government-mandated facility.
All guests wishing to take this flight must familiarise themselves with and adhere the entry requirements of Australia or Fiji. Fiji Airways is unable to uplift transit passengers on these recovery flights.
2. EU Citizens and Residents Registration
 
The Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific is currently reaching out to all European citizens and permanent residents currently in the Pacific.
The Delegation, in partnership with its Member States, regional and international partners are working to provide information and instructions to Europeans during the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.
You are invited to look at their “European citizens in the Pacific” form and to distribute it amongst any of your contacts or communities where it might reach Europeans looking for information.
You can also contact the Delegation via email at delegation-fiji-fly-home@eeas.europa.eu
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If you seek further clarification, do not hesitate to communicate with any of the following FHTA Secretariat contacts:

FHTA Situational Update No. 5

SENT TO MEMBERS ON FRIDAY MARCH 27 AT 9.54PM
Further to previous Situational Updates, the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association wishes to inform you of the following:
1. Inter-Island Resort Transportation
Further to the advise (25 March 2020) regarding inter-island shipping;
The Fijian Government has announced the fifth confirmed case of COVID-19 in Fiji. In the contents of the announcement, and in keeping with the changing conditions of the current situation and containment measures getting upgraded, we would like to draw your attention to the portion regarding inter-island shipping where Fiji’s Prime Minister is quoted as saying:
“We’re seriously concerned about the virus ever reaching any of our outer island communities. From this Sunday, the 29th of March, all passenger travel to our outer islands will cease. Shipping lines for freight will continue — with increased bulk but decreased frequency — to ensure food and other essential goods are supplied across our islands. Anyone who regularly travels these routes should decide over the next four days where they’d prefer to spend the next few months.”
We recommend that your work plans be amended and staff be informed accordingly regarding the above as this travel ban between islands may not be lifted for some time. Read the full statement HERE.”
Members are advised that this includes resort transportation for guests, staff and supplies to  the mainland. The Secretariat will advise, when the information is confirmed, whether a waiver will be made available for emergency & essential staff travel and who to contact for this.
2. Nationwide Curfew
The Prime Minister has also just announced a nationwide curfew from 10pm to 5am from Monday, 30 March 2020. The announcement is available here.
More details will be provided in regards to shift workers, security and other essential services that still need to operate during the curfew period. This and tourism’s transport requirements around the island resorts is being discussed with the Authorities and will be updated by the Secretariat tomorrow, 28 March 2020.
3. MSAF Survey Certification
MSAF is allowing extensions to the Survey Certification timeframe. If you have a survey certificate that has expired or is about to expire in the next month and it is difficult under the current circumstances to get this renewal – you can contact the surveyor below who has been approved to provide the extension;

In case you missed it, FHTA’s last advice was sent on 12th February (view here).

4. COVID-19 Response Supplementary Budget
 
5. Refilling of Fuel/Diesel
Members are advised that they CAN refill fuel or diesel from Port Denarau and not from the Lautoka or Vuda areas that are under lockdown. The lockdown officially ends next week Friday – so a few more sleeps to go.
6. Recovery Flights
Fiji Airways announced yesterday, 26 March 2020 that they have rescheduled its recovery flights to/from Tokyo-Narita to operate in early April. The full advisory is available here.
We have yet to get confirmation that the Australia flights scheduled for arrival Sat 28th and Sun 29th are definite, however the Air New Zealand flight from Auckland has been confirmed for Sun 29th March.

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If you seek further clarification, do not hesitate to communicate with any of the following FHTA Secretariat contacts:

FHTA Situational Update No. 4

SENT TO MEMBERS ON WEDNESDAY MARCH 25 AT 9.19PM
Further to previous Situational Updates, the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association wishes to inform you of the following:
1. The Fijian Government has announced the fifth confirmed case of COVID-19 in Fiji. We would like to draw your attention to the portion regarding inter-island shipping where Fiji’s Prime Minister is quoted as saying:
“We’re seriously concerned about the virus ever reaching any of our outer island communities. From this Sunday, the 29th of March, all passenger travel to our outer islands will cease. Shipping lines for freight will continue — with increased bulk but decreased frequency — to ensure food and other essential goods are supplied across our islands. Anyone who regularly travels these routes should decide over the next four days where they’d prefer to spend the next few months.”
 
Therefore we request that your staff be informed accordingly regarding the above as this travel ban between islands may not be lifted for some time. Read the full statement HERE.
2. The FHTA Secretariat has received legal opinion from Neel Shivam Lawyers confirming which salary/wage rate used to calculate for annual leave owed, when implemented during a “salary/wage pay cut.”
Neel Shivam Lawyers therefore recommends that since Section 59 (1) of the ERP 2007 states  that “after each year of employment…the worker must be given 10 working days holiday and must be paid in respect of such holiday the wages the worker would have been paid for the time the worker would normally have worked during that period.”…that a Worker who proceeds on annual leave should be paid what he or she would normally earn if he/she was at work. It is thus Neel Shivam Lawyers’ view where a worker has already accrued leave, prior to the implementation of wage reductions, the leave pay should be calculated on the worker’s original base salary.
However for those workers who may not have accrued leave prior to the wage reduction implementation but are requested to take leave after the wage reduction, the Resort can calculate annual leave pay based on the new / reduced base salary wage rate.
3. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism have set up a page specifically for businesses to be updated on new policies and new information nationally and globally regarding COVID-19. The platform is accessed HERE. On the portal, businesses can:
  • Submit information on challenges facing current overseas suppliers, the ministry will seek alternative suppliers
  • Update Plans on laying off employees or if laying off has happened – please enter these details on the portal.
  • Access Information/feedback where you need assistance
4. The FHTA continues to have discussions with Government agencies, including the Ministries of Economy, Tourism and Health, as well as Fiji Revenue & Customs (FRCS) and the Governor of Reserve Bank of Fiji.
The Secretariat has also made submissions to the both the Ministry of Economy and and the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism for consideration for the Supplementary Budget to discuss the Tourism’s sector challenges and critical assistance needed during this current health crisis.
We are also seeking urgent assistance from Government to help affected staff cope with reduced wages during this time.
5. Tourism Fiji release regular updates for their Industry and Trade partners. To read their latest update, click HERE.
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If you seek further clarification, do not hesitate to communicate with the FHTA Secretariat that will be available and on the following contacts:

FHTA Situational Update No. 3

SENT TO MEMBERS ON SUNDAY MARCH 22 AT 2.25PM
Further to previous Situational Updates, we wish to inform you that there is an extra supplementary Fiji Airways flight from Nadi to LA departing on Monday 23.03.20 at 11pm. This is to allow visitors to return to their homes or original destinations.
To book any one of the below flights, please visit www.fijiairways.com. If you need to speak to someone to book one of the below flights only, please call Fiji Airways Reservations on 3304388 or 6720888, or 9103603.
Due to the unprecedented nature and scale of the current situation around COVID-19 and state restrictions, Fiji Airways is receiving extremely high call volumes at their Reservations Centre and requests that visitors and callers remain calm when waiting for assistance.
From/To
Flight number
Departure Date
Departure Time (local)
Nadi-Honolulu
FJ820
Sunday March
5.10pm
Nadi-Sydney
FJ911
Sunday 22 March
9.00am
Sydney-Nadi
FJ910
Sunday 22 March
1:55pm
Nadi-Sydney
FJ1917
Sunday 22 March
11.59am
Sydney-Nadi
FJ1916
Sunday 22 March
5.05pm
Singapore-Nadi
FJ360
Sunday 22 March
8.55pm
Los Angeles-Nadi
FJ811
Sunday 22 March
11.00pm
Nadi-Auckland
FJ411
Sunday 22 March
8.30am
Auckland-Nadi
FJ410
Sunday 22 March
2.00pm
Nadi-Auckland
FJ1415
Sunday 22 March
9.30am
Auckland- Nadi
FJ1414
Sunday 22 March
2.40pm
Nadi-Los Angeles
FJ810
Sunday 22 March
9.40pm
Honolulu-Nadi
FJ821
Monday 23 March
2.55am
Nadi-Los Angeles
FJ1813
Monday 23 March
7.00am
Nadi-Sydney
FJ1911
Monday 23 March
9.00am
Sydney-Nadi
FJ1910
Monday 23 March
1.50pm
Nadi-Singapore
FJ361
Monday 23 March
11.50am
Los Angeles-Nadi
FJ811
Monday 23 March
11.00pm
Nadi-Los Angeles
FJ1810
Monday 23 March
9.40pm
In light of these disruptions, we recommend that all visitors confirm their return flights as soon as possible, to consider an earlier departure, as flight schedules are also changing.
  • Fiji Airways: (679) 672 0777
  • Air New Zealand: (679) 992 6367
  • Qantas: (679) 323 9030
  • Virgin Australia: 00 61 7 3295 2296
Also, please visit theise websites for more flight information:
If you have any other issues that the airlines are unable to resolve, then please contact your relevant embassy. Some useful numbers are included below:
  • New Zealand High Commission: (679) 331 1422
  • Australian High Commission: (679) 338 2211
  • USA High Commission: (679) 331 4466
  • British High Commission: (679) 322 9100
For German enquiries please email covid19botschaftwellington@gmail.com, copying in Monika.Oldenburg@aptc.com.fj
Fiji’s nation-wide response to the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on 19 March 2020, in conjunction with global travel restrictions and containment measures, has severely impacted scheduled flights in and out of Fiji. These restrictions can change daily as circumstances around the pandemic evolves globally and we will share all pertinent information to you, as soon as possible.

For any further clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact the FHTA Secretariat on the following numbers:

  • CEO Fantasha Lockington – 992 6980
  • EO Litia Mario – 777 0135 | 8363 359
  • PRO Glen Vavaitamana – 777 0136 | 777 0137
Again, we wish to inform you that there is an extra supplementary Fiji Airways flight from Nadi to LA departing on Monday 23.03.20 at 11pm. This is to allow visitors to return to their homes or original destinations.

To book any one of the below flights, please visit www.fijiairways.com. If you need to speak to someone to book one of the below flights only, please call Fiji Airways Reservations on 3304388 or 6720888, or 9103603.
Due to the unprecedented nature and scale of the current situation around COVID-19 and state restrictions, Fiji Airways is receiving extremely high call volumes at their Reservations Centre and requests that visitors and callers remain calm when waiting for assistance.

FHTA Situational Update No. 2

SENT TO MEMBERS ON SATURDAY MARCH 21 AT 4.04PM
Further to our update sent on Thursday and the contacts for airlines and embassies sent last night, the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association wishes to send members updated information for your guests.
Fiji’s nation-wide response to the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on 19 March 2020, in conjunction with global travel restrictions and containment measures, has severely impacted scheduled flights in and out of Fiji. These restrictions can change daily as circumstances around the pandemic evolves globally and we will share all pertinent information to you, as soon as possible.
In light of these disruptions, we recommend that all members assist guests to confirm their return flights as soon as possible, to consider an earlier departure, as flight schedules are also changing.
  • Fiji Airways: (679) 672 0777
  • Air New Zealand: (679) 992 6367
  • Qantas: (679) 323 9030
  • Virgin Australia: 00 61 7 3295 2296
If you are able, please visit their websites for more flight information:
If you have any other issues that the airlines are unable to resolve, then please contact your relevant embassy. Some useful numbers are included below:
  • New Zealand High Commission: (679) 331 1422
  • Australian High Commission: (679) 338 2211
  • USA High Commission: (679) 331 4466
For any further clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact the FHTA Secretariat on the following numbers:
  • CEO Fantasha Lockington – 992 6980
  • EO Litia Mario – 777 0135 | 8363 359
  • PRO Glen Vavaitamana – 777 0136 | 777 0137

Denarau Island Farm

Denarau Island Farm

Nestled between the Heineken House Restaurant and Denarau Island Golf Course lies an organic oasis of fresh Fijian produce that serves as the heart of our Marriott International, Sheraton and Westin Resorts and provides a growing platform to minimise our need to import and showcase the bounty of Fijian produce to guests, associates and local farmers alike.

Started in 2009 with just ½ acre of land, the Denarau Island Farm has now grown to a size of 4ha, is managed by 6 dedicated staff and produces a seasonal harvest of over 850KG, 35 different fruits and vegetables, 2 nurseries and an expanding micro herb garden with edible flowers.

The farm harvests seasonal produce including baby carrots, asparagus, okra, Chilies, tomatoes, cauliflower, guava, paw paw and pineapple, and employs its own experienced coconut climber to manage the 500 coconuts a week that are grown and subsequently enjoyed by guests of the resort.

Built with the vision to reduce the importation of fresh food items, sustain our restaurant menus and showcase quality Fijian produce to our guests, the farm in turn serves as a training venue for our 150 culinary associates who are taught sustainable farming practices and take inspiration for their flavorful menus, and is continuing to build an infrastructure to be able to train local farmers.

More recently, the Denarau Island Farm has implemented a Pacific Grow, Bio-gas System and Dripkit, an innovative smart technology that enables the farm to use clean energy cooking. Approximately 12kg of organic kitchen waste gets fed into the Biogas system daily, producing 700L of gas to power the farm’s onsite BBQ for cooking and additionally 10-15L of dense rich liquid compost which nutrients the spices, herbs, fruits and vegetables grown on site. The farm then incorporates the harvest into their weekly Sunday Afternoon Farm BBQ event providing a full circle farm to table experience for guests.

Marriott International Fiji Resorts are dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint, minimizing our reliance on imports for produce and enlivening our culinary mantra – ‘go local’.

Marriott International Fiji Resorts announces key appointments

Marriott International Fiji Resorts announces key appointments

Denarau 3 March 2020 – Marriott International Fiji Resorts made announcements recently of major key appointments within the Fiji resorts including the two Samoa properties, the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Greys Hotel & Bungalows and the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Greys Resort.

“We are thrilled to have some brilliant industry leaders’ step up to deliver market results” commented Neeraj Chadha, Multi Property Vice President, Fiji & Samoa – Marriott International, General Manager – Sheraton & Westin Resorts, Fiji. “They undoubtedly will deliver elevated results for our cluster of properties not only here in Fiji but also Samoa and as a brand leader, Marriott International has always recognized great potential and supported world-class industry talent which has led to its unprecedented growth.

Joakim Zetterberg

Joakim Zetterberg Hotel Manager, the Westin Denarau Island, Resort & Spa
Joakim Zetterberg Hotel Manager, the Westin Denarau Island, Resort & Spa

Joakim Zetterberg, announced as the Hotel Manager for The Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa, reporting to the Multi Property Vice President Fiji & Samoa – Neeraj Chadha.

Joakim first joined The Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa as Rooms Manager from June 2013 to November 2014.

He decided to explore Fiji for a while and was welcomed back to Marriott International as Hotel Manager, Sheraton Resort & Spa, Tokoriki Island in November 2017.

Joakim completed his Degree in Hospitality Management in 2009 from Sweden and then commenced his hospitality career as Night/Duty manager at the Sheraton Hotel & Resorts, Sweden. In 2011, he moved to the UK to join the Aloft Hotel as Team Leader, achieving the Team Leader of the Year Award in 2012.

 

Sudhir Yadav

Sudhir Yadav Hotel Manager, the Sheraton Fiji Resort and the Sheraton Denarau Villas
Sudhir Yadav Hotel Manager, the Sheraton Fiji Resort and the Sheraton Denarau Villas

Sudhir Yadav, announced as the Hotel Manager for the Sheraton Fiji Resort and the Sheraton Denarau Villas, reporting to the Multi Property Vice President Fiji & Samoa – Neeraj Chadha.

An accomplished hotelier with over 15 years of tourism and hospitality experience, Sudhir’s Marriott career has seen him lead front office teams at the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel and Courtyard by Marriott North Ryde, as Director of Rooms at Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa and most recently as the hotel manager for the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa. As Hotel Manager he is responsible for overall day to day operations.

 

Javed Shameem

Javed Shameem Market Director of Sales—Fiji and Samoa
Javed Shameem Market Director of Sales—Fiji and Samoa

A dynamic, driven and commercially oriented individual with a broad understanding of Leisure, MICE and Corporate segments, Javed Shameem takes up the portfolio of Market Director of Sales – Fiji and Samoa for Marriott International.

Over the span of his career in Fijian tourism and hospitality, Javed has held notable roles with brands like the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Rosie Holidays and Ahura Resorts Fiji. His recent assignments include helping pre-open the award winning Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay as a market leader and being at the helm of our Proactive Sales Fiji Cluster for our five distinct resorts. A local boy and a commercially savvy leader, the Marriott family are excited to see him thrive.

 

For more please contact:

Karyn Sutton, Director of Marketing, Marriott International Fiji, Phone + (679) 9904 538

Krishnil Prasad, Cluster Marketing Executive, Marriott International Fiji, Phone + (679) 9980 202

About Marriott International Fiji

Marriott International Fiji Resorts, the leading hotel company in Fiji with three brands and five resorts in the portfolio including The Westin Denarau Island, Resort & Spa, Sheraton Fiji Resort, Sheraton Denarau Villas, Sheraton Resort & Spa, Tokoriki Island and Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay. Combined with the largest conference facility in Fiji, the Denarau Island Conference Centre, Fiji’s premier golf course at The Denarau Island Golf & Racquet Club and over 1200 dedicated service professionals, Marriott International Fiji offers guests and unrivalled south pacific experience. Learn more at www.marriottfijiresorts.com

About Marriott International

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,300 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 134 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy™, its highly-awarded travel program with 141 million members globally. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

For more information, visit marriott.com.au

COVID19 Awareness & Precaution Information

COVID19 Awareness & Precaution Information

FHTA COVID-19 Member Awareness Information

As of today, there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Fiji. We remain free of infection but the World Health Organisation has now confirmed that the virus is spreading faster out of China now and the Fiji Government has put in place more stringent controls for border protection as well as issued travel restrictions for a wider range of countries.

There is an urgent need for extra vigilance from everyone.

Your staff may have questions or concerns about COVID-19 – more specifically, what precautions they should be taking to protect themselves, your property and customers. With the right plans and processes in place, both your staff and your customers will feel confident that appropriate steps have been taken to keep them protected.

FHTA recommends the following that are also CDC and WHO supported guidelines for your staff to ensure their safety and that of your customers and business and are meant to enhance what you may already have in place:

1. Separate fact from fiction

As with anything, there is a lot of misinformation available. Ensure your staff and customers are informed by factual, verified information about the virus – such as that provided by WHO. Their website even covers off common myths around coronavirus, which may be helpful for dealing with questions from both staff and customer Let your staff know that you will be communicating with them regularly (and how/where they can find that information) in order to keep them informed with up-to-date and relevant information.

Regular updates are provided by FHTA through information received from the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Health & Medical Services and the Department of Immigration and can be found on the FHTA website (website link).

Updates are available on CDC’s web page at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV

2. Heightened hygiene recommendations

  • Wash hands – remind staff about the importance of thorough hand washing practices and ensure that policy reminders and signage are readily available and visible.
  • Provide hand sanitisers – in places where your staff and customers interact each other and others
  • Use Good Quality Disinfectants – check disinfectants being used are not overly diluted and are of good quality. Discuss these with your Housekeeping and Cleaning staff
  • Food Handling – extra precaution should always be taken when it comes to food handling practices
  • Sanitise Public Areas – increase vigilance and cleanliness protocols around areas such as elevators, door handles, handrails and drinking fountains.

3. Strongly Discourage kava bowl sharing

  • Use a ladle to serve the kava
  • Ensure that during kava ceremonies each guest uses their own separate kava drinking bowls (bilo) and that these are thoroughly washed if being reused later
  • Discourage kava bowl sharing amongst staff immediately

4. Have an emergency plan in place

  • Communicate with your guests and customers about what they should do and expect should they experience any symptoms.
  • Prepare measures in the event of a suspected case
  • If anyone develops any of the symptoms (fever, cough or difficulty breathing), you must immediately contact one of the numbers listed below. If you need to see a doctor please call ahead, using the provided phone numbers, before visiting the doctor to reduce the risk of infecting other patients.

5. Establish quarantine protocols

  • What happens in the event that a guest, customer or staff member is suspected as a potential carrier of the virus? Along with your emergency plan, have quarantine processes mapped out and put in place immediately. You must be clear on what this could mean for your business in terms of staff, guests and business-as-usual operations.
  • As with any emergency or epidemic, your business’s ability to react swiftly will make all the difference. Good preparation goes a long way in ensuring your staff and customers are at ease and they would be grateful for your communication channels to keep them informed and making certain their safety is a top priority.

6. Separate sick employees

  • Sick employees should be encouraged to stay home.
  • CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees.
  • Employees who suspect they may have members of their family at home who are sick should be encouraged to get medical assistance.

7. Separate sick guests

  • Guests in hotels who become sick should be isolated from other guests and requested to remain in their rooms and the emergency medical numbers provided below contacted As noted earlier, please call ahead, using the following phone numbers, before visiting to reduce the risk of infecting other patients.
  • The numbers for each division are:
    • Central 2219905
    • Eastern 2219906
    • Western 2219907
    • Northern 2219908

RBF Economic Review – January 2020

RBF Economic Review – January 2020

20 February 2020 – The Reserve Bank of Fiji has published the Economic Review for the month ended January 2020.

Some highlights of the report are:

  • Commercial bank’s new lending for investment purposes declined by 16.7% last year.
  • Annual inflation fell further to -0.9% in December 2019, lower than the -0.3% in November and the 4.8% recorded in December 2018.
  • Liquidity remained adequate in 2019, between the uneven distribution of funds across banks, demand deposits declined over the month in December by 1.8% to $603.7million and as of 30 January, liquidity stood at $675.2million.
  • Over the month, the Fiji dollar strengthened against the USD(2.2%), JPY(1.5%) and the EURO (0.3%) but weakened against NZD(-2.5%) and AUD(-1.1%).
  • The economy is anticipated to grow by a lower 1.7% in 2020, from a 1.0% anticipated growth last year.

View full review here.

Red Cross warning over bushfire recovery recruitment scam in Fiji

Red Cross warning over bushfire recovery recruitment scam in Fiji

Fiji Red Cross Society, 12 February 2020 – The Fiji Red Cross Society has warned a few hotels in Fiji against the fake
recruitment drive that is currently targeting hotel workers and offering work in Australia for the bushfire clean up.

FRCS Director General, Ms Ilisapeci Rokotunidau said, “There are fraud emails circulating claiming to be working with a Red Cross relief programme to Australia and requesting people to volunteer from Fiji to work as food distributors to the Australian Fire service. They are providing fake ID cards and are also claiming that Red Cross will be responsible for the recipient’s children’s scholarship after the project has been completed.

We’re asking the public to look out for these fake emails. If you receive any email claiming to be working with other Red Cross National Society, please disregard it and refrain from sending any funds to them,” she said.

The Red Cross & Red Crescent movement is present in 191 countries and in each country there is a National Society. The National Societies cannot directly enter any country without first contact with that country’s National Society and the International Federation of the Red Cross & Red Crescent (IFRC), which has regional offices across the globe.

If you are unsure please contact the Fiji Red Cross Society on email: ana.kotoiwasawasa@redcross.com.fj or phone numbers: 3314133/9992505/9992847.

FHTA Member Update on MSAF Survey Certificates

FHTA Member Update on MSAF Survey Certificates
FHTA has been meeting with senior management at MSAF to discuss 2 issues regarding tourism vessel certificates that have been difficult to obtain quickly resulting in tourism businesses being affected, with the following positive outcomes:
1. For the usual annual renewal of the Coastal Trade License (CTL) that is often difficult to get approved sign-off for, FHTA has requested MSAF and the Ministry of Transport to consider including tourism vessels for extended validity periods for this license in a similar manner to the current consideration for commercial passenger franchises. In this respect, FHTA has requested that CTL’s be considered for a period of 5 years.
  •  MSAF has confirmed that they are looking into the required legislation changes for 5 year CTL licenses for tourism purposes
  • This would only apply to vessels that are less than 20 years old
  •  Safety inspections would still continue to take place, as required annually
FHTA will provide an update on this legislation once confirmed and understand that this process has commenced.
2. For the late provision of Safety Inspection Certificates which required on a 6 month basis, FHTA has requested that MSAF and the Ministry for Transport consider an annual (2 month) license validity period and requested the provision of Interim Certificates to ensure tourism vessels could continue to get insurance protection and cover without interruption to tourism businesses.
  •  MSAF has agreed to provide Interim Certificates immediately after an approved inspection, pending the confirmation by the Senior Surveyor
  •  Members are reminded that it is a mandatory requirement to provide your vessel’s ownership documents for every inspection to avoid delays
  • This will only be for on-going safety inspections and not for vessels that have just entered service or are brand new
  •  A copy of the inspection certificate may be obtained by the owner of the vessel with the Interim Certificate for the purposes of complying with insurance requirements and/or renewing insurance cover
  • The Interim Certificate will be valid for 1 month. It is the responsibility of the vessel owner to get the final Inspection Certificate before the end of the 1 month validity period
  •  Senior Surveyor contact: Pene Manueli 9904524, pmanueli@msaf.com.fj
  •  Contact for certificate issuance status : Iliseva Karusi (PA to MSAF CEO) 3315266, ikarusi@msaf.com.fj
3. Insurance agencies and the Insurance Association of Fiji has confirmed that Interim Certificates are acceptable for insurance cover validity
  • A copy of the Inspection Report is required by insurance agents with the copy of the Interim Certificate
Please feel free to contact the Secretariat if you have any queries or require further follow up, but do ensure you have provided ALL the required documentation to MSAF beforehand.
MSAF’s list of requirements can be accessed  HERE.

FHTA Members Notice – Courtesy Vehicle Licensing

FHTA

11 February 2020 – Members are advised of the update below following FHTA’s meetings and on-going discussions with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and our previous advice here of 11 January 2020.

1. Courtesy vans used for guest and staff pick up and drop off – regardless of the number of seats – must be taken to LTA to apply for a COMMERCIAL LICENSE CLASS.

2. LTA will provide a 1 year EXEMPTION PERMIT for the Commercial License Class;

  • this exemption will allow Fiji Airports Ltd (FAL) to provide access to their bus bays per their usual requirements (application of the “”Blue Stickers””)
  • the exemption timeframe is to allow LTA to amend the current legislation to include tourism specific requirements, not currently covered that will also address tourism’s preferred seating capacity for courtesy vehicles based on prudent operational and economic requirements.
  • FHTA will continue to consult with LTA on the legislative amendments to ensure our business processes are better understood

3. Owners (hotels/resorts/tourism businesses) must provide proof of ownership of the vehicle(s) when applying for the Commercial License Class.

  • if the vehicle has a Private License – this must be changed to a Commercial License
  • if the vehicle ownership is under a person’s name – confirm if this person owns that tourism business
  • where the business registration differs from the trading name (T/A), provide business ownership details
  • if the hotel/resort/tourism business is outsourcing guest or staff transfers to someone else – the owners of that transport business/vehicle must have a PSV license class

4. Please use the attached copy of the LTA confirmation on Hotel Courtesy Van Licensing to take to your nearest LTA office for the above

  • if your vehicle has not been deemed non-compliant yet and you are not sure, please contact the LTA Standards & Engineering Team sne@lta.com.fj to avoid your vehicle being taken off the road
  • do let the FHTA Secretariat know if you are unable to get a response or your response is not in accordance with the above details or the attached letter HERE.

Provisional Hotels And Tourist Accommodation Statistics, Quarter 3, 2019

Provisional Hotels And Tourist Accommodation Statistics, Quarter 3, 2019

Fiji Bureau of Statistics Release  No 1 2020

Findings from the Quarter 3, 2019 survey of Licensed Hotels, Resorts and Lodging Houses are presented in the release below;

Compared to Quarter 3, 2018
 The number of Rooms Available increased by 6.0%.
 The number of Rooms Sold increased by 8.4%.
 The Room Occupancy Rate increased by 1.3 percentage points to 62.1%.
 The number of Beds Available increased by 2.0%.
 The number of Beds Sold increased by 6.5%.
 The Bed Occupancy Rate increased by 2.4 percentage points to 57.8%.
 Takings from Accommodation, Sales of Food, Liquor, Telephone and Other
Miscellaneous Charges totaled $371.4 million, an increase of 6.8%.
 Paid Employment in the Hotel Sector increased by 3.2%.

Full report:Hotels-Qtr3-2019