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Bleak prospects for Pacific tourism

Pacific island countries should not expect international travel to resume in earnest until late 2021, travel and aviation experts have warned.

‘You should forget the US market for 2021, as well as Europe and the United Kingdom,” Peter Harbison told a recent meeting of Pacific airline executives.

“Nearly 550,000 Americans are projected to have died by 1 April 2021 (from COVID-19), which is more than double the mid-November 2020 level.

“The vaccine rollout is projected to have little impact by April 2021.

“For Europe, over a million Europeans are projected to die by 1 April 2021, representing a trebling of mid-November 2020 numbers.

“For the United Kingdom, nearly 120,000 residents are projected to die by April 2021, doubling its mid-November 2020 level.”

Harbison is the chairman emeritus of CAPA – Centre for Aviation, an Australian based aviation and travel market intelligence firm.

He was among a number of experts invited to address a virtual seminar for members of ASPA – the Association of South Pacific Airlines recently.

With the exception of Fiji Airways, all Pacific airlines, including Air New Zealand and QANTAS, are Association members.

Even the performance in 2021 of the region’s largest tourist source market, Australia, is in doubt, Harbison told the ASPA seminar.

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