COVID-19: Disruption to tourism industry temporary, says ANZ economists

Tourism Fiji Chief Executive Officer Matthew Stoeckel with director marketing Emma Campbell joins the traditional warriors from Nawaka Village during the Tourism Fiji Industry Day at Denarau in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FILE

ANZ’s economists believe the disruption to the tourism industry will be temporary and once the virus passes, international leisure activity will recommence.

The report on COVID-19 impact on Fiji’s tourism industry and economy states that prior to the pandemic, the leading indicators of overseas travel in Australia and New Zealand (Pacific’s key markets) were broadly supportive of overseas holidays.

However the report says with the timing of the recovery to take a foothold being uncertain, the best case is a recovery in six months from now and the worst case is a year when a cure and vaccine for COVID-19 are expected to be available.

The report also recommends the government of Fiji and those of the rest of the Pacific Island countries to possibly approach multilateral development banks (MDBs), such as the World Bank, the ADB and the IMF, for budget support loans to fund the additional discretionary spend.

It said the debt metrics would push higher, but these were unprecedented and very challenging times and government support would limit the pandemic’s damage and protect the tourism industry so that it is around to provide jobs when the recovery comes.

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