Talanoa Consulting

How can we ensure tourism businesses survive?

Highlights of a World Bank report

GENDA Disrupt industry talk 3

By Marita Manley

We do our best to write in plain jargon-free language and where necessary offer translation services 🙂 

As the uncertainty around the reopening of borders and vaccine roll out in the Pacific continues, policy makers face considerable challenges in working out how best to support the industry to survive. 

The recently published World Bank report, ‘How Could the Pacific Restore International Travel?’ is close to our hearts, as we have a sister enterprise in tourism. We’ve done our best to extract the key recommendations and remove the jargon. Because, let’s face it, who really reads these reports anymore (a blog for another time…). 

One of the key recommendations is that where necessary, businesses should be supported “to hibernate rather than die”. Even the World Bank are pretty direct about that.

Our translation

  1. We’re in this for the long haul. In case you hadn’t noticed, some of the measures that were intended to see us through a short term shock are going to need to be rethought because this is not short term.
  2. The tourism sector is unique for many reasons, but partly in its ability to deliver broad based employment in many areas across the country and it has long value chains on which many other businesses depend. (For some reason it took a global pandemic for us to see tourism as an important contributor to development. In Fiji’s case the Reserve Bank of Fiji estimates that tourism contributed $1bn to government revenue directly and $2bn to the economy more broadly). For this reason the Government  may want to help some of the smaller businesses survive through specific measures (grants / extended loan holidays / guarantees / wage subsidies / capital work programmes  / paid training programmes). This is especially important as the national budget is currently being developed. I’d add in the opportunity to use skilled expertise from tourism to work on long standing development priorities – engaging them to support agro-forestry, forest and ocean ecosystems rehabilitation, upgrading community water systems, developing a network of agricultural nurseries, teaching every child in the country to swim. This list of possibilities is fairly extensive.
  1. Some businesses will need to hibernate so that they don’t die and they may need advisory services to help make those decisions about when, how long and the level of staffing to retain.


Some fairly clear recommendations that hopefully someone is reading and acting upon. Hopefully it is also available as an infographic, powerpoint summary or podcast edition too.

Photo of sunset over the hills of the Nadi valley, Fiji
Photo of sunset over the hills of the Nadi valley, Fiji. Photo: Rob Rickman