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Wallis and Futuna: Impact Of COVID-19 on the Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the small island economy of Wallis and Futuna. This French territory in the South Pacific relies heavily on tourism, remittances and imports. Border closures and travel restrictions since 2020 have devastated the tourism industry which previously accounted for over 60% of GDP.

The territory experienced an acute outbreak – with 454 cases and seven deaths – leading to a rush of 18,000 vaccine doses from France. However—vaccine misinformation on social media contributed to plateauing vaccination levels, leading to the return of many vaccines due to pervasive hesitancy.

Wallis and Futuna has a strict border policy initially helped contain the COVID-19 virus but the first case of community transmission was recorded in March 2022. The economic impact of the pandemic – coupled with the complexities of governance – has posed challenges for Wallis and Futuna

Unemployment rose dramatically with job losses across hotels, restaurants, transportation and retail. The only flights serving Wallis and Futuna were suspended for months during lockdowns, cutting off visitors entirely. Cruise ships also stopped arriving, eliminating another major tourist segment.

With far fewer visitors spending money locally, Wallis and Futuna’s economy contracted by an estimated 11% in 2020. Government tax revenues plunged over 30% that year as well. Public debt has mounted quickly to fund financial relief programs while business activity and taxes remain depressed.

However—Wallis and Futuna’s early and strict control measures kept COVID cases extremely low. This relative success could support tourism reopening faster than other destinations perceived as less safe. Promoting the islands’ beautiful natural scenery and protections for visitors could further aid economic recovery.

It is noted that tourism is still struggling to rebound fully until the pandemic eases globally. Travel restrictions only lifted in mid-2022, so visitor numbers are slowly recovering. But relying on one volatile sector makes Wallis and Futuna vulnerable, signaling a need for economic diversification over the long term.

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Featured Reports

Understand the macroeconomic situations that affect the global positioning of countries.

Businesses can better understand how chatbots can advocate their vision.

DeFi helps reduce dependency on traditional methods of transactions.

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Understand how the U.S. discrepancy in accordance to their debt creates a havoc. 

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