Pacific Island nations advised to take gradual approach to reopening tourism

World Bank predicts Pacific region's economies won’t recover until 2022

Although Covid-19 vaccine is now in its early stages of distribution, the World Bank advises Pacific island countries to take caution in reopening, recommending that they adopt a phased approach to resuming international travel.

In its report, titled “How Could the Pacific Restore International Travel?” the World Bank noted the need for the Pacific island nations to keep the safeguard against Covid-19 outbreaks to ensure a steady economic recovery.

“Due to weak health systems, any large Covid-19 outbreaks could have devastating consequences for the region,” said Michel Kerf, World Bank country director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

“Recent World Bank surveys show that the pandemic’s economic impacts and closed borders are forcing families to make tough choices, like going without food or withdrawing children from schooling, and these can have harmful consequences for years to come,” Kerf added.

Most Pacific countries have so far managed to dodge the Covid-19 pandemic through international border closures. However, the economic impacts of the pandemic have been significant in the region, where economies heavily rely on tourism,