Slow vaccination impairing Vanuatu tourism

 Thursday, December 16, 2021 


Vanuatu’s struggling tourism operators will now be forced out of business after the recent announcement of the government in terms of borders might remain closed for another year, the Espiritu Santo Tourism Association says.

Association chairperson Calvin Rhodes explained that he was quite dissatisfied by the director-general’s comments at the Prime Minister’s Office, Gregoire Nimbtik that the government is yet to have a plan in border reopening.

“I think it was very concerning actually, and really [highlighted] the shortfalls of the government’s planning for vaccination for the countries reopening targets.”

Rhodes explained that due to the limitations of its health care system, Vanuatu needs to keep Covid-19 out of the country.

Also, that the tourism industry of the country is in survival mode and another year of closed own would destroy what is left of the industry completely.

“Another 12 months of the border’s closure is actually going to create another wave of tourism businesses that will not be able to afford to keep their business running again.”

For Vanautu’s economy, tourism is a key driver. Before the pandemic, the sector provided up to 40 percent of the GDP of the country. It employed almost 13,000 Ni-Vanuatu people directly, as well as another 38,000 indirectly.

In 2022, Pacific economies are hoped to bounce back, and tourism will be the sector to help nations like Vanuatu recover, according to the Asian Development Bank’s Pacific Economic Monitor launched on Monday.

However, Vanuatu has many miles to go before it can open for business.

To vaccinate 90 percent of its eligible population, the government has set a target against Covid-19; more than 152,000 people.

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