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Fiji and the Pacific’s tourism numbers relatively safe from coronavirus says ANZ

February 6, 2020 12:50 pm
The deadly coronavirus outbreak, which has sent panic around the world, should not have a drastic impact on tourism numbers of Fiji and the Pacific.

The deadly coronavirus outbreak, which has sent panic around the world, should not have a drastic impact on tourism numbers of Fiji and the Pacific.

A latest research by the ANZ Bank’s international economist, Kishti Sen, reveals that numbers of Chinese tourists to the Pacific are growing but still small, accounting for less than five percent of all visitors in 2019.

Sen says if the outbreak is contained soon, then around 15,000 Chinese visitors will be unable to make it to the Pacific in the short term.

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He further adds that this may be offset by higher arrivals from Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

With countries such as Fiji having implemented strict travel restrictions, Sen believes the number of inbound visitors to the Pacific is likely to hold up, this year, especially as the outbreak has occurred during the Pacific’s off-peak tourism season.

This means foreign reserves, GDP, employment and government revenue in tourism-dependent economies, such as Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, and the Cook Islands, are likely to remain intact.

Fiji received 47,000 Chinese tourists last year, followed by Vanuatu at around 4000 and about 2000 visited Samoa.

The report goes on to say that while Australian households are cautious, at present, they are still going on holidays, and may divert travel plans from Asia to alternative markets over the near-term because of the coronavirus.

This further boosted by long-term migration of Pacific Islanders to Australia and New Zealand, which has risen in recent years, increasing the number of trips from those countries to visit family and friends in the Pacific.

Sen says the ongoing Australian bushfires could push Aussie tourists choosing to travel to the Pacific rather than their usual domestic venues and this will be further boosted.

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