Mon, 25 Sep 2023

SYDNEY, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Tourism operators in the Pacific island country of Kiribati are looking forward to boosting business following the reopening of the country's borders from Aug. 1, over two years after a bordor closure due to COVID-19.

Tourism Authority of Kiribati (TAK) deputy chief executive Reeti Onorio said in a statement on Monday that while the long border closure had a "devastating impact on tourism operators across the destination," there was "optimism for a sustainable return to normalcy as we begin welcoming visitors from August."

The tropical nation has long relied on international visitors with the tourism sector generating about 3 percent of its gross domestic product, according to WorldData in 2019.

Regional carrier Solomon Airlines is offering a fortnightly service between Kiribati and the Australian city of Brisbane throughout August and September, which will then become a weekly service from October.

Nadi in Fiji and Honiara in the Solomon Islands will serve as connecting hubs from the key markets of Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Travelers to Kiribati must be fully vaccinated and have to take a COVID-19 clinic test within three days of their arrival.

According to World Health Organization figures, Kiribati had had 3,430 COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths since the start of the pandemic up until July 29.

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