Boardroom briefing: Tahiti experiment could lead the way, COVID-19 an opportunity for tourism, and leadership in lockdown


French Polynesia trials online arrivals system, time for a tourism re-think, and managing your bacon wars. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Is this the future of Pacific tourism?

Air Tahiti

Tahiti will re-open its doors to international travellers. Credit: Air Tahiti

French Polynesia is the first nation in the region to accept international travellers without quarantine as the global tourism industry grapples with what travel looks like in the COVID-19 era. According to Radio New Zealand, Tahiti will be accepting international flights from Paris and Los Angeles on the condition that travellers have a negative COVID test three days before departure and then take a test on day four of their stay; travellers will have to register online and include their full itinerary.

If the system works, it could be a way forward for PNG, whose tourism sector is hurting badly.

PNG is not alone, either. The ABC reported this week that Vanuatu was also suffering from a lack of tourists.

‘Tourism has been decimated here,’ Liz Pechan from The Havannah Vanuatu, a five-star resort on the island of Efate, told the ABC.

How to do Asia-Pacific tourism differently

The COVID-19 pandemic has offered an opportunity to rethink the way the tourism industry operates, Credit: Awei Metta Yangon

The Pacific region’s tourism sector is estimated to lose US$18 billion (K62.6 billion) due to the pandemic, with visitor numbers falling back to 2012 levels across the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, according to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

As travel restrictions begin to lift, the temptation will be to attract as many tourists as possible as fast as possible. But experts say the global pause on tourism is offering countries an unprecedented opportunity to examine how to rebuild their tourism industries in a way that not only benefits their economies and also protects the planet.

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This might mean ‘thinking about the resilience of the place and diversifying, or making sure the livelihoods are diversifying enough that not everything depends on tourism,’ Susanne Becken, Director of the Griffith Institute for Tourism in Melbourne, Australia, told CNN. ‘This readjustment in the moment is a bit of a shock, but hopefully long term it’s a reality check.’

How to lead from isolation

Rachel RobertsonAs the world gradually reopens, and then closes again, and then reopens, how you lead your employees at this time may define your business for years.

Talking to Forbes Asia, Rachael Robertson – author of Leading on the Edge, a bestseller about her time leading a year-long trek in Antarctica – offers some thoughts on how to lead from lockdown.

The simple-but-effective tips include direct lines of communication (‘no triangles’), limiting trivial disputes (‘managing your bacon wars’), and accepting that you will not get along all of the time, but you can always treat each other with respect (‘respect trumps harmony’).

They are timely tips from a rugged leadership expedition that has a lot more in common with today’s business landscape than you might once have thought.

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