This paper updates the Reported Social Unrest Index of Barrett et al (2020), reviewing recent developments in social unrest worldwide since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. It shows that unrest was elevated during late 2019, coincident with widespread protests in Latin America. Unrest then fell markedly during the early stages of the pandemic as voluntary and involuntary social distancing struck. Social unrest has since returned but generally remains below levels seen in 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a collapse in international tourism, severely impacting the tourism-dependent economies in the Asia & Pacific region. Once countries start reopening, tourism diversion effects could accelerate the recovery in countries that establish themselves as more attractive travel destinations than competitors. We investigate the impact of previous shocks in tourism competitor countries on visitor inflows, with a particular focus on tourism-dependent Pacific Island Countries (PICs). We find that PICs were generally resilient to external shocks and benefitted from diversion effects for certain types of shocks. For example, the share of departures from Australia to PICs increased by 12 percent during the SARS outbreak. We then derive policy implications for the post-COVID-19 revival of inbound tourism to PICs and lessons for the future.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
New Zealand’s sound management of the COVID-19 crisis has been effective in bringing infection rates quickly under control. Decisive fiscal and monetary policy responses have been instrumental in cushioning the economic impact. Although economic activity was hit hard initially, it has recovered faster than expected. That said, the recovery has been uneven, with some sectors and workers disproportionately affected.