Michael Gill, executive director of the Air Transport Action Group said that air transport plays a vital role in the lives of people on small island states around the world: “Aviation supports 1.7 million jobs and $37 billion in GDP in small island states around the world. Around 151,000 people are employed within the industry itself at airports, airlines and air traffic management organisations and the rest are within the supply chain and in tourism supported by aviation. That tourism is a vital source of foreign revenue for islands – one that can be more sustainable than other sources of income such as fishing.”
“Perhaps more importantly, air transport provides connectivity for island residents – those seeking higher education or healthcare, to do business or to visit friends and relatives overseas. With the right conditions, our Aviation: benefits beyond borders report forecasts that air transport could support nearly 3 million jobs and $83 billion in GDP across small island states by 2032.”
The draft outcome report of the conference states that “tourism represents an important driver of sustainable economic growth and decent job creation… transportation and mobility are central to the sustainable development of small island developing States. Sustainable transportation can enhance economic growth, promote trade opportunities and improve accessibility... We also recognise the importance of the efficient movement of people and goods in fostering full engagement in local, regional and global markets and the potential for sustainable transportation to improve social equity, health, the resilience of cities, urban-rural linkages and the productivity of rural areas of small island developing States.”
Gill said: “We applaud the leaders meeting in Apia for their support for the sustainable development of both local tourism industries and the transport links that connect their islands to economic and social opportunities around the world”.