19 Mar 2015

Vanuatu economy could take years to recover

8:27 am on 19 March 2015

A disaster economics expert says the next few years will be difficult for Vanuatu's economy with many of its major exports impacted by Cyclone Pam.

Port Vila, Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam.

Port Vila, Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam. Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

Much of Vanuatu's growth over the last decade has come from tourism and agriculture with each making up around 25 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

While the extent of the damage from the cyclone is still being assessed, the Chair in the Economics of Disasters at Victoria University, Ilan Noy says damage to these industries will hit the country hard.

"With the decline in tourism, damage to the main cash export crop, and the need to do emergency management in the next few months, it's going to be a difficult time for Vanuatu."

Mr Noy says the tourism industry could take years to get back on its feet as infrastructure is repaired and tourists forget about the risk of future cyclones.

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