One of the most difficult tasks for islands is reviving the economy now and beyond the pandemic. Tourism and leisure in SIDS bring around $30 billion a year in revenue. A decline in tourism, which also provides most of the revenues in the transportation industry, translates into a huge fall in GDP for the many islands around the world. This problem isn’t going to be solved overnight, and with the underlying issues of unemployment and a reduction in government revenues, islands need a robust recovery plan to ensure the wellbeing of their populations.
Some islands are creating new solutions and recovery plans to keep retain their relationships with tourists and ensure they are able to reopen quickly as travel normalizes. Some nations in the Caribbean have started providing relief for small enterprises. Jamaica has already started by creating a tourism recovery task force to provide a recovery and growth incentive framework for the sector.
For other island nations, however, this is the time to innovate and (possibly) make the tourism industry more sustainable. The Faroe Islands is championing a “remote tourism” revolution to help potential travellers experience the islands an no doubt entice them for the future. This digital tourism initiative would allow islands to broadcast tour guides live for people from around the world to log in and watch these guides trek around tourist destinations. About 50,000 people joined the Faroe Islands’ online tourism event – and if travel restrictions continue, many other islands may embrace this method whet the appetites of potential visitors.
Island Innovation is a social enterprise and digital media company at the intersection of sustainable development and communications, offering specialised services across various sectors. We bring together the private sector, government, utilities, NGOs and universities to advance innovation for sustainability and prosperity in islands worldwide.