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Facing a Formidable Future: Pandemic recovery strategies to spur economic growth

Session Replay



The pandemic has had a wide-range of impacts on island communities, by adding pressure to healthcare services, limiting tourism and reducing economic resilience. This session between government representatives, impact investment and financial experts will tackle what strategies countries and companies are undertaking to recover from the hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Premier of the Cayman Islands

Wayne Panton

Head of Tourism, St Helena Government

Matthew Joshua

A weekly commercial air service to St Helena from Johannesburg with Airlink began quite recently in late 2017. Until then the remote island was only accessible by sea.

Matthew Joshua was born on St Helena. He gained hospitality and marketing experience in London and Cape Town and has been involved in tourism and hospitality on St Helena for the last 10 years, notably as opening GM for the island’s largest hotel.

Matthew’s plans to develop his own destination management company and restaurant on the island were dashed by COVID, and in a strange twist of fate he ended up running the island’s quarantine facility for the first year of the pandemic.

Matthew was appointed Head of Tourism for St Helena in May 2021 by the St Helena Government.

Currently, the main objective of St Helena Tourism is to drive the sector’s recovery over the next 2-3 years, to ensure the destination sees a return to pre-pandemic levels of activity and then continues to develop. It is the intention of St Helena Government to divest tourism functions into the private sector once tourism has recovered.

St Helena has remained COVID free for two years (no community spread), but, like the rest of the world, the economic impacts have been devastating. Positively, Matthew says, “St Helena is a breath of fresh air. The Island I call home has huge potential as a tourism destination. It’s so unlike anywhere else in the world. Paradoxically, the very attributes that usually constrain tourism – remoteness, challenges with access, a lack of large scale development – could be the island’s greatest tourism assets, if marketed effectively.”

Associate Director, Scottish Futures Trust

Diarmaid Lawlor

Diarmaid helps clients make well-informed decisions about place-based policy and investment challenges. He is a designer, educator, and communicator. With a multidisciplinary background, and over 20 years’ experience working across sectors in the UK and Europe, Diarmaid champions creative approaches to making better places.

Azores DMO Coordinator, Government of the Azores

Carolina Mendonça

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