COVID is sucking billions out of tourism – FBC News

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Regional tourism has been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic with billions of dollars in losses.

While various countries are taking steps to minimize the long-term impact, the Fiji Tourism Office says there is still a lot of work to be done.

South Pacific Tourism Organization chief executive Christopher Cocker says lockdowns are forcing people to stay in their countries, which is why the regional tourism industry’s contribution to GDP has fallen to 1.3% in 2020, down from 7.8% in 2019.

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“In 2020, we only made about $681 million compared to 2019, which was about $4 billion.”

Cocker says flights to the region have dropped by about 83% as the region closed its international borders.

“And cruise arrivals are down about 73%, so there’s definitely an impact. It goes without saying that in this case it is not only us, but the rest of the world.”

Fiji Tourism Chairman Andre Viljoen says Fiji tourism stakeholders are not resting on their laurels as they launched a two-year corporate plan to help the industry get back on its feet.

“This plan and its implementation is supported by many hundreds of travel companies promoting this sector and promoting the unique beauty of our country and the depth of experience we offer to all our visitors.”

Tourism remains the heart of Fiji’s economy, with 118,812 tourists arriving in the country since our border opened last year.

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