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Research and Stats Update: June 2021

2020 Annual Visitor Arrivals Report

In late May, the Research and Statistics team published its 2020 Annual Visitor Arrivals Snapshot Report. Embedded within the report is a summary of the 2021 private sector survey results of the Tourism Industry impacted by COVID-19 (highlighted in Sustainable Newsbeat May 2021). The recently complied report shows that the Pacific received 391,303 Air Visitor Arrivals, which represents a massive downturn of -82.7% (-1.87 million) compared to 2019.  Most of these arrivals were recorded within the March Quarter, just before the mass closing of international borders across the region due to COVID-19. Despite the significant drop, the industry still managed to generate an estimated US$ 682 million in Tourism Receipts, which contributed 1.3% to the Pacific’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Furthermore, the report also highlighted the impact of COVID-19 in the region in terms of number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths.  The number of confirmed cases totaled 17,790 and were recorded across Fiji, French Polynesia, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu and Wallis & Futuna.  In terms of confirmed deaths, 125 were recorded across Fiji, French Polynesia and PNG.  In light of the pandemic, an estimated total of US$4.3 billion in Stimulus Packages was mobilized across the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) to assist in coping with the impacts of the pandemic. The full report of the Annual Visitor Arrival 2020 can be accessed here.

Quarter 1 2021 Visitor Arrival Snapshot

SPTO has now completed the compilation of the Quarter 1, 2021 Visitor Arrivals Snapshot. The report shows that the Pacific received a total of 7,445 Air Visitor Arrivals for the March Quarter of 2021.  This represents a drastic fall of -97.8% (-326,759) compared to March Quarter of 2020.  In 2020, the widespread enforcement of Border and Travel Restrictions began in April, with most countries still opting to close borders as at March 2021. Additionally, since April 2020 cruise travel has also came to a halt except for French Polynesia who opened its borders since July 2020, but closed again in February 2021 in light of the increasing number of COVID-19 Cases.  Total Visitor Arrivals plunged by 98.6% (-526,149) as a result of the continued enforcement of Border and Travel Restrictions.  The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the region with 8,739 Confirmed Cases recorded, and 83 Confirmed Deaths within the March Quarter 2021.  SPTO would like to acknowledge the NTOs of Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia and Kiribati for providing information for the report. The full report of the Quarter 1 2021 Visitor Arrival Snapshot can be accessed here

Regional Tourism Resource Center (RTRC) Upgrade

The SPTO recently completed a Call for Expressions of Interests (EOIs) for the upgrade of its online library, more widely known as the Regional Tourism Resource Center (RTRC), as one of the components of Output 1 for the SPTO Organisational Development and COVID Tourism Recovery Programme funded by the New Zealand Government. This upgrade will support SPTOs efforts in ensuring that access to tourism-related information, research, statistics and sustainable practices is improved, and a wider range of stakeholders are reached. Submissions were closed on the 23rd June 2021 and the evaluation is in progress.

Pacific Tourism Statistics Strategy (PTSS) implementation planning phase

Following the endorsement by the SPTO Board of Directors in late May 2021, the Pacific Tourism Statistics Strategy (PTSS) is now available and the  ‘implementation planning’ phase has commenced. Designed to be a living document, the PTSS incorporates new opportunities in developing tourism statistics systems and capacities at national and regional level, through focused support to achieve  Strategic Objectives which include the:

  • Development of core sustainable tourism indicators
  • Building of collaboration and partnerships between users and producers at national and regional level
  • Improvement of data management processes and procedures
  • Improvement of quality, time and detail and coverage and
  • Evaluation and improvement of statistical skills and competencies. 

Together, these will aid in achieving the vision of the PTSS, and monitoring progress till 2030.

A copy of the PTSS can be accessed here

The SPTO’s Market Watch issue, which provides information on outbound market trends for May 2021, is now available and can be accessed here


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