The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Fiji signed a $3 million (F$6.3 million) grant from the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific, financed by the Government of Japan, that will fund a project aimed to boost Fiji’s COVID-19 testing and containment capacity at the Nadi International Airport.
Called the ‘The Fiji Enhancing COVID-19 Preparedness for Tourism Recovery Project’, the initiative will fund the construction of a new boarding gate, lounge, and isolation room plus equipment to support infection prevention and disease control at Fiji’s international airport.
COVID-19 testing in Nadi will be expanded through the procurement of automated reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test machines, the ADB said in a statement.
The ADB said the grant project will help reduce the risk of transmission and deliver a testing facility for tourists and those working in the tourism industry to facilitate international travel.
The project is being supported by an in-kind contribution of $270,000 from the Government of Fiji.
Fiji’s Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Subregional Office in Fiji Aaron Batten signed the grant agreement. Fiji Airways Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Andre Viljoen and Fiji Airports CEO Isei Tudreu signed the project agreement with Batten. Japan’s Ambassador to Fiji Kamakami Fumihiro witnessed the event.
“The opening of Fiji’s borders in December last year brings hope for a revival of tourism, which remains key to a quick economic turnaround,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific Leah Gutierrez. “Tourism is critical to Fiji’s economy and this grant from the Government of Japan will help promote a safe tourism recovery.”
“Our national effort to overcome the worst of the pandemic has restored the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Fijians—with more getting back to work every day. This partnership supports a major upgrade for the award-winning Nadi International Airport that sets our tourism industry on a sustainable path towards recovery,” said Sayed-Khaiyum. “By constantly seeking ways to make travel to Fiji easier, simpler, and safer, we will ensure that we remain open for happiness throughout our recovery and beyond.”