Sustainable Tourism Development dependent on Cooperation and Commitment
Pacific Tourism Ministers have been urged to take up stronger cooperation and commitment to the sustainable development of the Pacific Tourism industry, the lifeline for so many of Pacific Island countries and territories.
The comments were made by the new Council Chairman and Minister for Social Services of Niue, Billy Graham Talagi at the opening of the meeting Thursday October 3rd, which brought to an end a week of regional tourism meetings in Niue.
Moreover, Minister Talagi also acknowledged the China Pacific Islands Tourism Year 2019, which has been a valuable opportunity to better understand China and vice versa.
The 29th meeting of the SPTO Council of Ministers in Niue was officially opened by Faamatuainu Lenata’i Suifua, Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Tourism Authority, on behalf of Tuilaepa Sailele Aiono Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa and outgoing Council Chairman.
In welcoming Council members, the Chief Executive emphasized the importance of urgent collective action in addressing climate change and disaster impacts and connectivity through innovative partnerships, which are crucial to advancing the sustainability of the regional tourism industry.
The Ministers were briefed and endorsed a number of upcoming regional tourism activities including the Oceania Village Initiative at 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, and the China Pacific Tourism Development Initiative (2020 – 2024).
The Ministers acknowledged the need to drive high level advocacy and engagement at the regional and international level.
A Council sub-committee was established to support the SPTO Board and Secretariat in the effort to secure funding opportunities and elevate tourism to the highest possible levels.
The Ministers approved the organisation name change to the ‘Pacific Tourism Organisation’ however to retain its current logo and acronym, SPTO. This is reflective of the call to be inclusive of its Northern and Central Pacific member countries.
The Ministers approved the new SPTO Organisation restructure noting the need to be fluid and open to change, inorder to effectively deliver SPTO’s new Strategic Plan (2020 – 2024) which was officially launched by the Council Chair and Ministers.
The Ministers approved the SPTO Work plan and budget for 2020 and acknowledged the generous contributions confirmed by French Polynesia and Wallis & Futuna to assist SPTO in 2020.
The Ministers acknowledged the great efforts by the government of Niue and Niue Tourism in successfully hosting the series of SPTO meetings in Niue which concluded with the Council of Ministers of Tourism meeting.
The Ministers conveyed their gratitude to the Government and people of Niue for the warm welcome and kind hospitality extended to them since their arrival.
The Council of Ministers meeting was attended by Tai Tura, Associate Minister for Tourism of Cook Islands; Nicole Bouteau, Minister for Tourism, Labour, and Institutional Relations of French Polynesia, Jean-Paul Mailagi, President of Finance and Budgets and Pacific Cooperation of Wallis and Futuna, Emil Tammur, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture of Papua New Guinea and Billy Graham Talagi, Minister for Social Services of Niue.
Other government members represented by proxies include, American Samoa, China, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
The Council of Ministers meeting was preceded by the SPTO Board of Directors meeting where a number of strategic issues were discussed and approved. The Directors also noted the update by the Secretariat on the South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) 2020 that will be held on the 25th – 26th May in Christchurch, New Zealand and encouraged participation by all members to the region’s largest and only premier tourism event.
Prior to the Board meeting, a regional marketing meeting was also held to discuss regional tourism marketing efforts for 2020.
The next SPTO Council of Ministers of Tourism meeting will be hosted by the government of Solomon Islands.