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IFC Survey Highlights Financial Support as Top Priority for Fijian Businesses

Suva, Fiji, July 16, 2020 — More than 60 percent of tourism businesses surveyed by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism, Trade and Transport, anticipate transitioning away from tourism activities if travel from source markets do not re-open by November 2020.
The Fiji COVID-19 Business Survey: Tourism Focus received responses from over 3,500 businesses, including 620 tourism businesses. The survey aimed to quantify the impact of COVID-19 on businesses with a specific focus on the tourism industry.
The survey revealed most businesses in Fiji need financial support with over 500 of the business surveyed facing bankruptcy by November 2020.
To continue operations, businesses also need health and safety certification, advice on business strategy, new markets and support to increase sales domestically.
“The Fijian Government has undertaken consultations with the Fijian business community to understand the impact of COVID-19 on them,”, Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Tourism, Trade and Transport, Shaheen Ali said. “This survey adds to the findings of our consultations and will allow for informed responses to the pandemic, for the benefit of Fijians. In considering the unprecedented scale of the crisis, the findings call for a more strategic partnership approach between Government, industry and development partners to accelerate recovery.”
The online survey was carried out from April 28 to May 15 and revealed that 71 percent of businesses surveyed were stable with the ability to save or growing pre COVID-19 but the impact of the pandemic had left almost 1,200 businesses anticipating a 75 percent decline in revenue.
Businesses already implemented various measures to address the impact with 24 percent of businesses surveyed moving to online sales, 69 per cent offering promotions and discounts and at least 36 percent moving to new activities, away from their core business.
The survey revealed that 41 percent of staff from all businesses are on reduced working hours or days, 10 percent are on leave without pay and five percent have been made redundant.
Businesses were also surveyed on the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold, which revealed that 49 percent of non-tourism businesses and 48 percent of tourism businesses surveyed suffered financial losses due to the cyclone.
“The survey has provided a glimpse of the impact of the pandemic on Fijian businesses, this is critical to the Fijian government and its partners in formulating a strategic response to the impacts of COVID-19,” IFC Country Representative for Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and Tuvalu, Deva De Silva said. “It is critical that the Fijian Government makes informed decisions to address the economic crisis and its impact on the nation.”
While it is obvious the tourism industry and non-tourism businesses both need financial support, the survey has recommended more support for the informal sector of the economy.
The survey has recommended a roadmap for the recovery of the tourism industry, training for tourism workers for the “new normal”, diversified marketing campaigns and more business support with particular focus on MSMEs.
IFC’s support for the survey on the impact of COVID-19 on Fijian businesses has been complemented by the support of the Australian and New Zealand Governments under the Fiji Partnership. Australia, New Zealand and IFC are working together through the Partnership to stimulate private sector investment, promote sustainable economic growth and boost shared prosperity in Fiji.
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
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Fiji Partnership
IFC’s work in Fiji is supported by the governments of Australia and New Zealand under the Fiji Partnership to unlock private sector investment, promote sustainable economic growth and boost shared prosperity in Fiji.