PSDI Tourism Expert addresses Pacific peak tourism body on post-pandemic recovery
The Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) will help build a regional framework for the post-pandemic reopening of international travel, and will support the region’s tourism peak body, the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), on guidelines and planning as tourism resumes.
PSDI Tourism Expert Sara Currie addressed the SPTO board on October 27 on PSDI’s support for a sustainable, private sector-led, inclusive tourism sector. Dr Currie said the PSDI's foremost priority was strengthening the crisis management capabilities and resilience of the 14 Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank as travelers return.
This includes PSDI support in 2022 for the establishment of new planning tools for the post-pandemic era, such as a regional tourism reopening framework. The framework will assist SPTO with guidelines, considerations, and planning, and will be available to DMCs to support best practice.
Dr Currie said PSDI would also provide expert advice and analysis on improving access to finance for tourism businesses, so they can capitalize on the return of travelers and grow again.
Assessments will also be made into Pacific tourist taxation mechanisms, ensuring taxation frameworks complement national tourism goals and visitor arrival targets, and into “blue financing” mechanisms that help safeguard the Pacific’s marine environment.
"Tourists need to come back to the region, we know that, but we're trying to look at ways tourism can resume in a more sustainable manner, and that crisis planning and resilience planning can be integrated," Dr Currie said.
Dr Currie updated directors on the publication of a regional assessment "Looking Forward Vol. 1: Evaluating the Challenges for Pacific tourism after COVID-19" and on PSDI's 14 country tourism sector snapshots. The publications survey the state of each DMC’s tourism sector pre-pandemic, assess the damage done by border closures, and look ahead to the resumption of visitor arrivals. The publications were developed through extensive consultations with local stakeholders, including governments, tourism bodies, and the private sector.
Dr Currie said a regional focus on cooperation and resource sharing over competition for arrivals in the post-pandemic environment could help DMCs recover faster.