With many owners and charterers looking for a safe location to enjoy their next adventure, there are few destinations as promising as the South Pacific. The region has managed the virus with great comparative success, and now some of the world’s most exquisite cruising grounds are reopening to superyacht traffic.
Over the weekend, Fiji has finalised details of a framework which will facilitate superyacht migration to the country. This comes after three private jets carrying UHNW tourists have already been granted access to Fiji in recent weeks.
First launched in June 2020, the Blue Lanes are a government-driven initiative aimed at stimulating yacht and pleasure craft migration into Fiji while adapting to stringent security measures. Allowing the passage of superyachts into the region will not only delight owners, but provide an economic impetus for the economy of Fiji without any risk. It is the strength of the superyacht industry during this time to boost tourism economies while restrictions for high-volume travel are still in place.
“This is great news for Fiji and our region,” said Cynthia Rasch, CEO of Port Denarau Marina where superyachts will first arrive in Fiji. “Once again Fiji has demonstrated the sort of creative initiative that has made Fiji the Hub for superyachts in our region.”
The entry of international superyachts is still being granted on a case-by-case basis, though the process is relatively simple. Negative Covid-19 tests are required for both passengers and crew no more than 48 hours before departure, and all conditions of the Blue Lane Initiative must be adhered to.
One advantage is that the quarantine period begins from the last port of call, so any uninterrupted days of sailing will be subtracted from the 14 days. Uninterrupted sailing days are days when no persons have embarked on the yacht or disembarked the yacht, and during quarantine the crew must only have contact with those considered within the superyacht ‘bubble’.
Arrival of Owners and Guests
Similarly, owners and guests must produce a negative Covid-19 test inside 48 hours of departure. Temperature and symptom checks are then carried out upon arrival at the airport, before guests are transferred to Port Denarau Marina to meet their superyacht. A planned itinerary should also be provided before boarding the superyacht, so visiting parties are advised to contact a local Fijian yacht agent
A Perfect Escape
It is hard to imagine a better way to spend quarantine than onboard a superyacht cruising the crystal-clear waters of Fiji.
For superyachts, Fiji offers the ultimate destination for true island seclusion and luxury. The stunning archipelago encompasses a sprawling chain of over 300 rugged islands covered in a haze of deepest emerald that leads down to sugary white sand beaches and cerulean waters teeming with diverse marine life. Superyacht visitation is made seamless by world-class facilities and excellence service at the world-renowned Port Denarau Marina.
The Blue Lanes have made sure that owners and guests can still enjoy their superyacht to the full during quarantine. The conditions state that: “During the quarantine period, the Superyacht will be allowed to undertake watersports such as surfing, kiteboarding, diving and snorkelling to name a few within approved areas.”
Quarantine will be completed under the supervision of members of the Fijian military or navy, who will follow in a shadow vessel. This will ensure that the agreed itinerary and procedures are followed in the interests of both visitors and the local population.
Interest from superyachts in visiting Fiji has been very high during the lockdown period, and many will be seriously considered taking advantage of this opportunity. Three superyachts were known to be applying for entry into the country before this latest update was confirmed, with a renowned Top100 yacht due to arrive in August.
There is plenty of reason to stay in the South Pacific region through this year and beyond, with the opening of countries such as Tahiti boosting prospects for travel. The America’s Cup will still be held in New Zealand in March 2021, an event which has always attracted high-profile superyachts. For now, though, superyachts will be thrilled to see opportunities for travel to exotic locations open up again.
Summary of conditions for superyacht quarantine in Fiji:
- Engage with a Fiji Yacht agent
- Provide a negative RT-PCR test <48hrs from departure. This has to be a laboratory test on a letterhead.
- Provide details on where they intend to cruise, itinerary
- Bear cost of a shadow boat containing military/navy personnel during their quarantine cruising period
- Adhere to all conditions as per the Blue Lane initiative under the Fijian COVID Safe Economic Recovery Framework.