Pacific five-year tourism strategy in need of support
Pacific Tourism approves five year strategy for regional industry promotion and development.
The South Pacific Tourism Organisation is seeking donor and development partnerships to help it implement a five year regional tourism strategy.
The plan which was approved at the Pacific Tourism Ministers Council meeting last week in Nuku'alofa aims to guide the promotion and development of the industry in the 16 member countries of the SPTO.
Its Chief Executive, Ilisoni Vuidreketi, spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the contents of the new strategy.
ILISONI VUIDREKETI: We are looking at how we can improve air access and route development, another issue is the cruise ship sector development and we are looking at also, how we can strengthen our marketing program to create more of that Pacific Island visibility in the long haul markets. The other areas that we have looked at is investment in Tourism and product development, research and statistics and of course sustainable tourism planning.
KOROI HAWKINS: In terms of the Cruise Shipping in the Pacific, why is this emerging now? What are the trends that we are seeing?
IV: Yea, we are seeing at the global level, the number of ships that are coming out of the docks, new ships, new cruise vessels, its increasing every year and the ships are getting bigger and bigger. We have cruise liners coming into the Pacific that carry up to 2,000 passengers or 500, 300 for the smaller vessels. No we are looking at ships that are having capacity of up to 4,000 passengers. Now that is certainly something that we cannot accommodate here in the Pacific. But we are looking at the redeployment of the middle sized ships to the other parts of the world and also the trend that we have seen for cruise liners to be looking for new destinations.
KH: In terms of funding the Pacific Tourism Strategy, where is the money coming from and how much is it?
IV: Sorry I don't have that figure right now with me. But the programme sets out it is very clear we will certainly be needing the support of development partners. And so the funding that we are looking for is firstly from the contribution of our member governments, which is quite limited when we come to think about this, this big plans for the Pacific. So we are looking at other development partners. That is why we spoke with New Zealand as one of the best options. Also we will be looking at other countries like, perhaps Australia, China and others who may want to be part of this. We are also looking at other donor agencies like the European Union to also pitch in. So it is a collective effort with those, key stakeholders that we have identified.
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