The collapse of tourism resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will have a profound impact on the Asia-Pacific small island developing States because of their high reliance on tourism rents. The pandemic will disproportionally influence the lives and well-being of the poorest and the most vulnerable, including workers in the informal sector. Addressing this challenge requires both broad mitigation measures to counteract the consequences of the outbreak as well as specific policies to support local tourism-related businesses and affected communities.
For Governments that do not have the fiscal space, adequate concessional assistance from the international community will be critical. At the same time, however, long-term efforts for the sustainable development of the tourism sector should not be undermined, particularly by taking full advantage of their blue economy potential – a concept depicting sustainable use of vast oceanic resources – to foster their development.