Survey shows increasing optimistic outlook in Pacific businesses

The month’s Pacific Business Monitor, a survey tracking the effects of COVID-19 on businesses in the Pacific region by the Pacific Trade Invest, indicates an increasingly optimistic trajectory in business outlook, despite a decrease in business confidence

Since tracking began in May 2020, between 84 and 92 per cent of respondents have consistently reported negative impacts on their business due to COVID-19. This month’s survey saw that to decrease to 79 per cent.

In line with this improving outlook, the February survey reports the lowest percentages yet of perceived negative impacts on local economy (decreasing from 90 per cent to 88 per cent) and reported decline in revenue (decreasing from 86 per cent to 81 per cent).

PTI Australia Trade & Investment Commissioner, Caleb Jarvis, said the confirmation of vaccine rollouts into the Pacific provides concrete steps towards borders reopening and key markets returning.

“International borders have been closed for nearly one year. Stopping one of the Pacific’s largest industries – international tourism. It’s heartening to see that thousands of vaccines having already been deployed to US territories and associated countries such as Palau and Marshall Islands, combined with vaccine arrival dates in countries such as Samoa, it’s the first tangible steps we have to setting up a pathway for reopening international travel to the Pacific.”

According to the February Pacific Business Monitor, roughly one third of respondents expect business to return to pre pandemic levels in 2021, with another third expecting a return by 2022.

Despite the slight upturn in outlook, Pacific businesses remain in unchartered waters with only 68 per cent confident their business will survive, a seven per cent drop from last month’s survey.

The top three initiatives that businesses are calling for assistance in are financial support, reviews on financial position and assistance diversifying their products and services.

“Businesses in the Pacific continue to face a myriad of compounded challenges and we remain committed to working with the private sector to chart a path towards economic recovery throughout 2021 and beyond. The PTI network continues to use the data we collect to advocate for the Pacific’s private sector at a regional level, as well as inform the design and delivery of our programs across the 16 Pacific nations we service.

“We have recently launched our Social Media for e-Business professional development scholarship to assist businesses to effectively use digital channels to reach new markets and increase sales, this week we completed an interactive financial workshop with tourism operators across the Pacific to provide them with the tools to get a handle on their current financial situation.”


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