The ILO said with the pain brought by the pandemic expected to be long-lasting, workers with previously stable incomes are sliding into poverty.
Many of these people are informal workers, with few protections if their jobs fall through, leaving them especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of the Covid-19 crisis.
Some governments in the region have reacted to the crisis by introducing stimulus packages and other policies in direct support to the tourism industry.
As the situation worsens and the impact on tourism industries proves both longer and deeper with each emerging day, there will be continued pressure on governments for even more assistance.
The ILO said few Pacific countries have the money to fully cope with the coronavirus response – and solidarity from the likes of Australia, New Zealand and the World Bank will be vital.
“The design of COVID-19 policy responses that focus on the crucial role of decent work is key to mitigate the adverse impacts on tourism enterprises and workers, and to achieve a sustained and equitable recovery of sector,” the report states.
The Northern Marianas’ governor has conceded the toll the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the local economy, with tourism numbers reduced to zero. But Ralph Torres said residents’ health took precedence over all else, as he acknowledged there would be tough months ahead. “Right now, health takes precedence over anything else. We have made decisions based only on what we believe is right.”
“This pandemic is filled with unknowns, but what is known is the aggressive response efforts we are taking to flatten the curve more than the rest of the world,” Torres said.