South Pacific

‘Dunedin chocolate factory supports South Pacific farmers

Only one percent of the worlds cacao is grown in the Pacific region, something craft chocolate brand Ocho has taken full advantage of.

It sourced all its beans directly from farmers in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea and paid fair wages,

Cacao, koko or kokoa as it is commonly known in the islands, has contributed to the Pacific's economic resilience.

The cacao industry in the Pacific has experienced decades of both successes and challenges, including natural disasters, under-investment and more recently, trade route disruption due to Covid-19.

Some Pacific tourist destinations set to relax restrictions

But in that time, some nations have decided to relax restrictions to welcome tourists back and revive the economy.

With sandy beaches and warm, sunny weather Cook Islands is a dream destination for many travellers.

Now Aussies can be part of the dream with Cook Islands opening its borders to Australians from the middle of next month, and the rest of the world in May.

A 10-day isolation stopover in New Zealand has also been ditched for international arrivals.

Hopes for a Pacific travel bubble fading

The region's economies are reeling from the loss of tourism - which makes up a majority of their income - because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chris Cocker said Pacific governments have been hoping for a travel bubble to help recoup some of the losses, but these hopes are fading.

"Because of the second wave hitting globally etc, and also the delays that we have seen with the Trans-Tasman bubble, realistically, and in the best case scenario, in the first quarter in 2021 in this area."

South Island likely to be hardest hit in Covid-19 recession - Westpac report

Westpac Bank's regional roundup says all areas of New Zealand are facing a rough recession over the rest of the year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but those that rely most on international tourism, such as Otago, are likely to be particularly hard hit.

Construction activity was expected to continue to slow, while house prices were expected to fall in all parts of the country.

Wellington had the brightest outlook, supported by an increase in government spending on services.

India to host meeting of 14 Pacific island nations

On August 21, India will host the heads of 14 island nations at the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC), in what is seen as a first step towards greater engagement with the region, which is important from an economic and geostrategic standpoint.