Often overlooked in terms of the broader world view, the nations of the South Pacific are primed with tremendous growth opportunities over the next few decades, with tourism from China pegged as one of the most promising aspects of their development.
In a new report set to be released on Thursday by the World Bank entitled Pacific Possible, and obtained early by Xinhua, coinciding with the Pacific Islands Forum underway this week in Apia, the capital of Samoa, a number of key ways in which the enormous potential of these fledgling nations may be realised over the next 25 years is outlined, with increased tourism from China's burgeoning middle class high atop that list.
The emphasis on China's middle class is paramount, according to the World Bank report, which said that it is expected to increase from the 54 million people who were classified as middle class in 2005, to over 1 billion by the year 2030, with this unprecedented growth bringing many fruitful pathways to increased tourism in the Pacific.
In order to source the investment required to fully capture the Chinese tourism market and the economic potential that brings, economist at the World Bank Kim Edwards said that these Pacific nations must play their part in ensuring that the conditions are conducive to those seeking to establish mutually beneficial partnerships with the region.
But direct flights to the region from places like China are critical to the growth of these nations, according to the World Bank report, which stresses that the dependence of Pacific countries of tourist on-flow from places like Australia and New Zealand must be curtailed in order for them to reach their full potential.
"(The growth potential) requires direct connections between those markets and the Pacific nations, avoiding the hubs of Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Guam." the report said.
With over 122 million Chinese outbound tourists in 2016 alone - and that number set to skyrocket over the coming decades - the opportunities for the Pacific island nations to engage in mutually beneficial partnerships with China are immense, which will lead to a more prosperous, and culturally rewarding future for the region, the report added.
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