The tourism sector in the Pacific has been significantly damaged by the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
But there is potential for positive transformation as the industry looks to rebuild and grow, according to a new series of publications from the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI).
“Tourism is critical to many Pacific economies. It supports the livelihoods of thousands of people, attracts investment, and helps value and safeguard natural resources. It will also be an important driver of the region’s economic recovery from COVID-19,” said Dr Sara Currie, PSDI’s Tourism Expert.
“For economies that rely on tourism, policy and investment decisions made now can drive growth for years to come—these publications provide information and guidance for policymakers and the private sector that can help inform those choices.”
The publications include 14 country tourism snapshots and a regional assessment: Looking Forward Vol. 1: Evaluating the Challenges for Pacific Tourism after COVID-19. They provide an overview of the Pacific tourism sector before the pandemic, identify new and existing challenges and opportunities, and provide recommendations to guide the sector’s recovery.
“Having a snapshot of the Pacific tourism industry before the pandemic will help governments and regional bodies assess the full impact of the downturn and move forward in an improved, inclusive, and sustainable way,” continued Dr Currie.
“If the sector can rebuild by addressing existing challenges while also seeking opportunities to consciously improve on the previous status quo, we should see Pacific tourism not just bounce back to where it was but evolve in a way that balances sustainability and growth.”
The publications highlight key policy options to guide the tourism sector as it navigates the recovery process. They emphasize the potential for an enhanced regional approach, that favors cooperation over competition and allows the region to share resources to promote long-term sustainability. Improving data collection to ensure the region has access to reliable and robust tourism sector indicators will also be critical for evidence-based tourism policies and planning.
PSDI is an ADB technical assistance program undertaken in partnership with the governments of Australia and New Zealand. PSDI supports ADB's 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to achieve inclusive, private sector-led economic growth.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.