The South Pacific Tourism Exchange held on May 9-10 in Auckland, New Zealand, was one of the best that the South Pacific Tourism Organisation has convened in recent years according to Chief Executive Officer, Chris Cocker.

“The SPTE attracted 62 buyers or travel agents from 14 countries around the world and 94 sellers or tourism operators from 17 of our Pacific Island member countries and the New Zealand Maori tourism businesses. We received positive feedback from participants and we are thankful to our co-sponsors, New Zealand Maori Tourism, for collaborating with us to make this event a success,” said Mr. Cocker.

The SPTE is convened annually by SPTO to generate increased business opportunities and incentives. Mr. Cocker said members who participated as sellers were pleased with the quality of buyers or travel agents who attended, “Of course we can do more to attract a larger number of buyers, specifically from our long haul markets. This is something we will be addressing in the lead up to our 2020 event.”

“SPTE continues to be a very important event in our calendar and this year we were able to establish new relationships with a blend of Buyers from existing and new markets,” said Rosie Holidays General Manager, Eroni Puamau, who attended the event.

Mr. Puamau also commended SPTO for the use of the Marcom Connect appointment scheduling software, used to book meetings at the SPTE, and for the set-up of the meeting areas that were accessible for participants. Unlike previous SPTE, this year there were no display booths but only tables for the Sellers, which was well received by the participants.

Mr. Cocker commended the New Zealand Maori Tourism for organizing the pōwhiri (official Maori welcome) for SPTE delegates on Wednesday 8th May, at the Orākei Marae, hosted by Tāmaki Makaurau iwi (tribe) Ngāti Whātua, “Our rich Pacific culture is a major drawcard for visitors to the region, so having that was an experience for our buyers. The participation of our Pacific Tourism Ambassador and 2018-19 Miss Pacific Islands, Leoshina Kariha of Papua New Guinea, displayed the unique and diverse Pacific culture.”

Mr. Cocker commended the support of the media that attended the SPTE, “We had Maori TV, TVNZ One, Fiji TV, Mai Life Magazine, Tagata Pasifika, 531 PI Radio and Radio New Zealand amongst others covering the event.  He also thanked the Government of Korea, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, PNG Tourism & Promotions Authority, Vanuatu Tourism Office, South Pacific Pocket Guide, InnQuest Australia, Samson Lee Fiji, Naturally Fiji and Pure Fiji for their support towards SPTE.

SPTO has convened SPTE for six years and the theme for the 2019 SPTE was “Sustainable Tourism Development- through people to people connectivity.” The event also provided an opportunity to showcase some of the innovative activities undertaken by SPTO’s Sustainable Tourism Development team. The unique fish-inspired name badges used by the event delegates was designed by Fijian artisan Warwick Marlow and made from recycled plastic bottles. Mr. Marlow was at the event showcasing a variety of the repurposed plastic creations, made by a group of women from Galoa village, whom he had trained under SPTO’s Sustainable Tourism Development initiative.

The venue and dates for the 2020 SPTE will be confirmed soon.


About SPTO

Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region. Its 20 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Rapa Nui, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna and the People’s Republic of China. In addition to government members, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation enlists a private sector membership base.

For more information, contact:

Alisi Lutu, Marketing Manager

South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO)

Email: alutu@spto.org or +679 3304177

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