Potential for positive transformation

A series of publications on the tourism sector in Fiji and the region recommend that building more dynamic private sectors will help build bigger and better tourism industries and drive higher employment and incomes. Picture: SUPPLIED

A series of publications on the tourism sector in Fiji and the region recommend that building more dynamic private sectors will help build bigger and better tourism industries and drive higher employment and incomes.

The publication from the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) also highlight key policy options to guide the tourism sector as it navigates the recovery process.

The publications include 14 country tourism snapshots and a regional assessment: Looking Forward Vol. 1: Evaluating the Challenges for Pacific Tourism after COVID-19.

The publication highlights that the pandemic has made it even more crucial to address outdated legal and regulatory frameworks that can burden Pacific businesses.

It adds that enabling access to finance, a serious problem for Pacific businesses even before the pandemic, will be even more critical as businesses recover.

It continues to note that stronger connections between tourism projects, existing lenders and investors, and green and blue financing instruments could help facilitate this.

“In addition, the pandemic offers an opportunity to judiciously reassess and readjust tourist taxation,” it said.

PSDI’s tourism expert Dr Sara Currie said tourism was critical to many Pacific economies and it supported the livelihoods of thousands of people, attracts investment and helped value and safeguard natural resources.

“It will also be an important driver of the region’s economic recovery from COVID-19,” said Dr Currie.

“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,” she said.

Dr Currie said having a snapshot of the Pacific tourism industry before the pandemic would help governments and regional bodies assess the full impact of the downturn and move forward in an improved, inclusive, and sustainable way.

“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.”

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