Rise in Pacific tourism ‘sign of recovery’

Business, Normal

INCREASE in Australian and New Zealand  tourists to Pacific Island Countries (PICs) signals recovery of tourism industry after the global financial crisis.
The Pacific Economic Monitor, a quarterly economic review by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) of 14 PICs and Timor Leste, revealed this in its November issue.
It noted that the number of Australian tourists to the region in July and August increased by 16.1% year-on-year, a sharp rise after modest gains last April and May.
Meanwhile, the number of NZ tourists visiting the Pacific also climbed last August, to 2.6%, after eight consecutive months of contraction.
The Monitor described the tourist figures, together with a price rise in tree crops such as cocoa and palm oil, as “positive news for the Pacific” and an indication of a recovering global economy.
But it warned against complacency in the region, saying that improvements in the global economy would be gradual and would take time to fully flow through to the Pacific.
“Notably, unemployment is still on the rise in the Pacific’s key neighboring economies, and this will delay prospects for a much-needed turnaround in remittances,” the report said.
The Monitor called for concerted government action to help bring about an economic recovery in the region, noting that a delayed response would adversely impact on the region’s poor.
 “It is estimated that an additional 50,000 people will fall below the poverty line in the Pacific next year because of the crisis,” S. Hafeez Rahman, director general of ADB’s Pacific department, said.
“Governments must strengthen fiscal efforts to speed up economic recovery.”