PSDI Tourism Expert addresses ADB flagship publication launch
Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) Tourism Expert Sara Currie has addressed the launch of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Asian Development Outlook Report 2022 on the safe reopening of Pacific tourism after COVID-19.
Dr Currie discussed the different reopening approaches taken by ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries (DMCs), the health and logistical challenges associated with COVID-19, and options to boost tourism recovery and resilience moving forward.
She also updated attendees on PSDI’s work to establish a Pacific tourism reopening framework which addresses the need for COVID-safe tourism at every step on the tourism value chain.
Pacific countries are grappling with multiple logistical considerations when it comes to reopening for tourism, PSDI Tourism Expert Sara Currie says.
Of ADB’s 14 Pacific DMCs, 4 are currently open to tourists—Cook Islands, Fiji, Palau, and Papua New Guinea.
“The rationale for this is that there are now so many logistical considerations placed on countries to support reopening that there’s merit in looking at a regional framework for economies of scale, for collaboration, and to share experience,” Dr Currie said.
“There are so many things that need to happen to support the safe reopening of tourism … public-private coordination is essential.”
Dr Currie also outlined the findings of PSDI’s regional tourism assessment, "Looking Forward Vol. 1: Evaluating the Challenges for Pacific tourism after COVID-19" and country tourism snapshots for all 14 Pacific DMCs. The publications survey the state of each country’s tourism sector prior to COVID-19, assess the damage done by border closures, and look ahead to the resumption of visitor arrivals.
The regional assessment’s recommendations included enhancing data collection and evidence-based planning; enabling sustainable, private sector-led tourism; building longer-term industry resilience; and encouraging a regional tourism approach based on cooperation.
Dr Currie said Pacific tourism would grapple with a COVID-19 “response and recovery cycle” for the foreseeable future.
“It’s a cliché to say we must learn to live with the virus but essentially that’s what we’re finding … a response, a recovery, a transition, and it continues in this fashion,” Dr Currie said.
Tourism and COVID-19 must find a way to coexist, according to PSDI Tourism Expert Sara Currie.