Tourism

Milestone in Pacific tourism post-Covid

The organisation's CEO Christopher Cocker announced the partnership at the SIDs Global Business Network Forum in Palau.

Mr Cocker said it's a working group that can share best practices and information, which are important for Pacific nations considering opening their borders.

"To me it's a milestone because moving forward in terms of Covid recovery, no man's an island, we need to collaborate. And I've heard this week of how vital strategic partnerships are."

Cocker said the SIDs tourism sector faces a number of unique challenges right now because of the pandemic.

Some Pacific tourist destinations set to relax restrictions

But in that time, some nations have decided to relax restrictions to welcome tourists back and revive the economy.

With sandy beaches and warm, sunny weather Cook Islands is a dream destination for many travellers.

Now Aussies can be part of the dream with Cook Islands opening its borders to Australians from the middle of next month, and the rest of the world in May.

A 10-day isolation stopover in New Zealand has also been ditched for international arrivals.

No positives for Samoa's tourism industry in 2019-2020

This was outlined in the Samoa Tourism Authority's annual report for financial year 2020.

A major concern is the industry's existing loans turning into non-performing loans of more than WST$200 million.

Financial year 2020 is arguably the most challenging to date for the Samoa Tourism Authority with overall visitor expenditures decreasing and declined.

The report said the total credit to the private sector as reported is approximately WST$2.02 billion at end of December 2019 with at least 13 percent or WST$260 million outstanding debts for tourism businesses.

Samoa Government assists Tourism

Minister of Tourism, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster said, “The continued border closure remains to affect travel to Samoa and whilst efforts to continue to actively pursue domestic tourism have provided some level of business and relief for operators, the numbers in comparison to pre-Covid-19 are significantly lower and are unsustainable for the majority of tourism businesses,”

“The lack of visitors in these challenging times has impacted on tourism businesses financially as they continue to struggle to stay afloat with the continued financial obligations.”

Slow start as Bali re-opens to foreign tourists

As of Thursday, fully vaccinated travellers from 19 countries including China, India, and France can enter Bali. The UK is not on the list.

But visitors must first serve a five-day quarantine in a hotel.

Officials had closed the international airport in April last year to stop the coronavirus from spreading.

In July, Indonesia became the epicentre of Covid in Asia, but daily cases have since reduced significantly.

Now the tourism sector is hoping that some of the 6 million foreigners who visited the island in 2019, before the pandemic hit, will return.

Samoa holiday travel likely to re-open in 2022

CEO of Samoa's tourism authority Fa'amatuainu Lenata'i Suifua said that vaccinations and a tracer app would be key to letting tourists in.

"You'll need to download the app before you come to Samoa," he told Pacific Beat.

He said the app was based off the "privacy preserving BlueTrace protocol" developed in Singapore which uses Bluetooth to trace contacts between the users.

So far 36 per cent of Samoa's eligible population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and almost 80 per cent have received their first dose.

Samoa Government's 20-year roadmap outlines opportunity to grow seasonal worker programmes

The newly released 'Samoa 2040' report focuses on four broad areas: tourism, agriculture and fishing, developing the digital economy and labour mobility.

The report says labour mobility opportunities can be grown, pointing out that Tonga had half Samoa's population but double the number of seasonal workers overseas.

“It provides a valuable source of income for Samoan workers and their families and their communities and offers an opportunity to gain new experiences and training which can then be reinvested into Samoa's development,” it said.

Newly announced travel bubbles inspire confidence in the Pacific

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated economies around the world but Fiji has been hit particularly hard by international travel bans.

Figures from June showed more than 100,000 people were no longer employed due to the tourism standstill.

Jessie McComb, a senior tourism expert with the International Finance Corporation, said tourism operators in Fiji are already preparing to welcome tourists back.

New Covid-19 cases deflating Australia, Pacific bubble ideas

With 10 active cases and quarantine botch-ups, it could be months yet before Australian and Pacific visitors are allowed in.

Meanwhile, Australian Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has warned its border will mostly likely be locked down until 2021.

That has businesses feeling nervous.

For Skyline - an adventure tourism business in Queenstown and Rotorua - the weekdays are the hardest.

Locals are visiting in the weekends and school holidays, but in between the luges and gondolas are quiet.

Samoa open for business despite measles epidemic - Tourism group

The tourism authority had taken measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, including cancelling all activities that required people to congregate, said Pativaine Petaia-Tevita.

The Tatau Festival parade was cancelled this morning on the waterfront. However, the exhibition and concert would go ahead over the next few days.

Visitors should make sure their measles vaccinations were up-to-date before arriving, while those already in the country and unsure of their vaccination status could visit a local clinic, she said.