Study Reveals COVID Effects
Almost 85% of respondents claimed that COVID-19 has had negative impacts on their businesses, including revenue loss and damage to the local economy - with nearly a quarter temporarily closed and 43% somewhat operational.
In addition, the top three challenges include the effect of closed international borders, poor cash flow, and not sure when the pandemic will last. Meanwhile, the top three initiatives that businesses have been calling for are financial position, financial support, and enhancing online commerce capabilities.
These were revealed by Pacific Business Monitor, a monthly survey monitoring the effects of COVID-19 in business across the Pacific region.
In spite of many Pacific nations not facing this pandemic, border control and quarantine measures brought interruptions to tourism, trade, and remittances.
PTI Australia Trade & Investment Commissioner Caleb Jarvis said that having a trans-Tasman in early 2021 is already a good sign of opening the borders again. He added that it is possible that the negative impacts of the pandemic will continue in the first quarter of 2021.
“Businesses in the Pacific have now faced immense challenges for the majority of 2020. Closed borders have meant those in the tourism sector have had no business or revenue since March. Our survey confirms what we are hearing from businesses, that the pressures have not eased and financial pressures are compounding due to no revenue,” Jarvis stated. “As the year draws to a close, we look to 2021 to provide the respite and global response needed to ensure the survival of so many Pacific enterprises. The announcement of a Transtasman bubble and the development of vaccines provide the first concrete glimmers of hope on a road towards recovery.”
Jarvis added, “PTI Australia continues to use the data from the PTI Pacific Business Monitor to champion the Pacific’s private sector at a regional level and bring a spotlight to the current reality Pacific businesses are facing. It reinforces the findings from the Lowy Institute that the Pacific is staring at a potential ‘lost decade’ due to economic damage of COVID-19, projecting the average income per person in the Pacific will not recover to its 2019 levels until 2028. We also use this data to help inform the design and delivery of our programs across the 16 Pacific nations we service. This month we launched our Social Media for an e-Business scholarship program, a bespoke 6-week program designed specifically for Pacific businesses to help bridge the digital capability gap and enhance e-commerce skills.”