In recognising the impact of COVID-19 felt most adversely on travel and tourism, and perhaps the most prolonged, key industry leaders have officially come together to form the ‘Tourism Recovery Team’. Chaired by the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, the Tourism Response Team (TRT) is representative of key industry stakeholders such us Tourism Fiji, Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association, Fiji Airways, Reserve Bank of Fiji, Society of Fiji Travel Associates, and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, to name a few.
The TRT was formed by overwhelming industry demand to have a consultative body that is able to channel the concerns and challenges faced by Tourism, Fiji’s largest revenue earner and find pragmatic solutions. Initially, discussions focused around sharing information on immediate impacts, ensuring compliance with Government-mandated measures and repatriating international visitors.
As the situation globally and locally evolved, the group was formalised to provide more strategic and visionary guidance, inter alia, for the longevity of the industry as we enter a new phase of tourism. “Business as usual will no longer be the case and recovery will depend on our adaptability and preparedness for market re-entry. What we as an industry do, how we innovate and how we respond will ultimately shape the future for the sector and the Fijian economy”, stated Permanent Secretary Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport.
He further added with the commitment and support of industry representatives in the TRT, we will be able to chart a way forward in making our sector more resilient and profitable. Tourism’s response needs to be measured and consistent, proportionate to the public health and based on local risk assessment. The TRT will consider the tourism value chain and public and private sector and tourist needs, in line with World Health Organisation’s overall guidance and recommendations. Industry leaders emphasised the call for cooperation to underscore a united response based on changing health recommendations and reflecting the profound economic and social ripple effects of the pandemic. Against the backdrop of wider action plans, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services is represented on the TRT to ensure aligned responses. “Our Tourism industry has proven it’s a resilient one. Tourism Recovery Team is a hugely welcomed step in solidifying our approach to recovery following COVID-19. We very much value the opportunity to get immediate updates from MCTTT and MoHMS on the current situation so we can respond effectively and efficiently as an industry”, said President of the Society of Fiji Travel Associates.
Moving forward, TRT will hold regular discussions, reflecting the need for coordinated and effective action by the public and private sector to map the next few steps to recovery.