After months of strict COVID-19 lockdowns and resolutely closed borders, Fiji is open — for billionaires.
Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has announced that the country is looking to attract “VIPs” to help restore Fiji’s paralyzed tourism-dependent economy.
“So, say you’re a billionaire looking to fly your own jet, rent your own island, and invest millions of dollars in Fiji in the process. If you’ve taken all the necessary health precautions and borne all associated costs, you may have a new home to escape the pandemic in paradise,” the prime minister said in a remarkably frank tweet.
Bainimarama said the country would also welcome travelers arriving by yacht who were prepared to spend 14 days at sea — or make up the balance in quarantine in Fiji.
Fijian Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has said that the first planeload of 30 “high-net-worth individuals ... from a very well-known company” were yesterday set to arrive by private plane in the archipelago nation.
“We already have one group coming,” Sayed-Khaiyum said during a national budget consultation. “We just did the approval ... for the flight to come in, and they’ll be spending three months here. There’s about 30 of them, and a very well-known company they are coming from.”
“They are coming in their private jet, and then they get on the seaplane, and then they go to the island and they stay there for three months. From our perspective, this is a balance between managing our health risk and also opening up the economic pathways; it’s critically important to do that,” he said.
It is not known from which country — or company — the group was coming.
Fiji has had only 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19, none fatal, and there have been no cases for three weeks.
However, there are fears, should the virus take hold, the country’s limited public health infrastructure could be quickly overwhelmed.
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