Adapting and reacting to Covid-19: Tourism and resilience in the South Pacific

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Scheyvens R
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Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies
CC BY 4.0
As with small islands around the globe, many of the island states of the South Pacific are heavily dependent on tourism revenue. This article examines how tourism development and its disturbance by Covid-19 has influenced socio-cultural and economic changes among Indigenous communities in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Cook Islands, and Fiji. In particular, it demonstrates how the cessation of international tourism in established destination communities has created shifts in the way people live and their livelihood approaches which have moved towards a revival of customary practices. This study was led by Massey University researchers through partnerships with research associates (RAs) based in-country: an online survey and on-site interviews by RAs, along with Zoom interviews by the authors, provided primary data. The paper argues that although Covid-19 has had difficult financial consequences, it has also motivated innovative, culturallybased responses that allow people to adapt effectively to the loss in income associated with border closures. Such changes point to valuable lessons that could inform the management of more resilient tourism in the Pacific.
Pacific Dynamics, 2022, 6 (1), pp. 124 - 150 (27)