ADB Report: Tourism Will Help The Pacific Region's Growth Rebound In 2022

By: PNG Business News December 21, 2021

Photo credit: Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority

According to the current issue of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Pacific Economic Monitor (PEM), the Pacific economies are expected to return in 2022.

While the Pacific region's GDP prediction was cut to -0.6 per cent in 2021 in the ADB study, the subregion is expected to increase by 4.7 per cent in 2022 as widespread immunization against coronavirus illness (COVID-19) allows borders to gradually reopen. This is intended to improve trade and tourism in the Cook Islands, Fiji, and Vanuatu, among other places. A brighter prognosis for Papua New Guinea's extractives industry is also expected to contribute considerably to this recovery.

“As the Pacific region gradually reopens borders, safeguarding the health, resuming safe travel, strengthening economic management, and promoting fiscal sustainability will be key to ensuring a resilient recovery from COVID-19,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific Leah Gutierrez.

According to the PEM, reopening to travellers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 is critical for the tourism industry's future. The number of tourists to Pacific sites has remained limited, with the majority of visitors arriving via travel bubble agreements with bilateral partners. However, due to dangers associated with the global rise of COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant, these preparations had to be put on hold. For near-term tourism in the Pacific, a sustainable return to safe travel will be vital. This, in turn, will be determined by vaccine rollout success, which has been inconsistent, with near-universal coverage of eligible people in the Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, and Palau, contrasting with relatively modest adoption in Melanesian nations.

Other country issues and policy themes critical to mitigating risks to the Pacific's recovery are explored in the PEM. It discusses public finance sustainability in the Cook Islands through fiscal consolidation and state-owned enterprise reforms in the Marshall Islands and Palau. Other articles focus on specific aspects of economic recovery, such as female labour participation in Fiji, labour mobility initiatives in Kiribati and Tuvalu, and reducing the burden of noncommunicable illness in Niue, Samoa, and Tonga. The PEM also looks at topics that are important across the subregion when it comes to the sustainable management of fisheries resources.

The PEM's policy briefs look at significant problems that will have a big impact on the Pacific's overall economic recovery after the COVID-19 crisis. The Lowy Institute's contribution estimates the time it will take Pacific countries to vaccinate their people and cautions that an unequal vaccine rollout would have long-term consequences for the region's growth. Another contribution from the Private Sector Development Initiative looks at the possibilities for tourism following COVID-19 and how rephrasing tourism goals and targets while including sustainability indicators might help people better comprehend tourism as a growth strategy. The final policy brief examines the topic of domestic resource mobilization and its role in ensuring the Pacific's public finances are sustainable.

The Asian Development Bank is dedicated to establishing a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while continuing to fight extreme poverty. It was founded in 1966 and is owned by 68 people, 49 of them are from the region.


Reference: Asian Development Bank (14 December 2021). “Tourism to Help Pacific Growth Rebound in 2022, Says ADB Report the region”.

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