Covid-free Kiribati resetting tourism

Like most, if not all, tourist destinations in the world, Kiribati's visitor industry has been paralyzed by the global Covid-19 pandemic, but the Tourism Authority of Kiribati sees the current lull as a perfect opportunity to recharge and rejuvenate.

"TAK is therefore using this down time to work on re-setting the Kiribati Tourism industry through capacity building initiatives, community awareness programs and tourism investment promotion," the agency stated in its newsletter.

Kiribati, which has a population of approximately 119,000, is among the 12 countries in the world that have not reported any Covid-19 positive case. It promptly implemented protective measures and shut its borders at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.

Before it came to a screeching halt, Kiribati was seeing a booming tourism industry. TAK recorded a 19 percent increase in international visitors in 2019 and an 11 percent increase in the number of beds available in country.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a 60 percent decline in international visitor arrivals as at May 2020 and the Tourism Authority of Kiribati anticipates a greater decline due to continued travel restrictions.

"Our Covid-19 impact assessment indicates a combined rooms and other revenue loss of up to $996,000 across the industry since the suspension of all international flights in late March," TAK said.

Nevertheless, the agency is confident that businesses will be back once travel restrictions are lifted.