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A woman dipping her feet in the water on a beach in Sri Lanka.

Event: COVID-19 and Tourism: Mapping a way forward for Commonwealth Small States

Tourism’s demise has had far-reaching effects, particularly for small states who depend on the sector almost exclusively, for foreign exchange inflows and a large proportion of their gross national income.

Of the economic, social and environmental damages inflicted, the most severe has been in employment, where around 100-120 million tourism and hospitality sector workers have lost their only source of income.

The countries that have been dealt the largest blow are those where tourism GDP contributions are largest. These include Commonwealth small states such as Antigua and Barbuda (7.2 percent GDP loss), the Maldives (6.9 percent GDP loss), and Grenada (5.5 percent GDP loss) (Johnson 2020).

One-third of the workforce in small tourism-dependent nations are employed in tourism, which provides them a vital source of income. Small states' governments also depend heavily on the sector, not only for foreign exchange, but for revenues generated through taxes on tourism-related income.

This virtual event will explore the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector in these countries, including a review of current policy initiatives being undertaken to tackle the tourism decline. The Commonwealth Secretariat will share its Tourism Action Plan, and ministers from Commonwealth countries affected will indicate their willingness to implement it as well as share their own experiences.

Registration details will be available here soon.