Warm Pacific Greetings from the South Pacific Tourism Organisation

We are committed to working with our members, partners, supporters and friends in progressing the industry in 2019. A key theme of our work this year is re-affirming our Blue Pacific Identity. This follows on from of the successful 2018 Council of Ministers of Tourism meeting theme of “Protecting our Blue Pacific, our livelihood and our home”.

In times such as these, where our region is vulnerable to the issues of climate change, depletion of natural resources and evolving diplomacy, we have a responsibility.  That is to strengthen the industry while protecting our people, culture and the environment. We stand shoulder to shoulder with other regional organisations which address other industries and thematic areas pertinent to Pacific people.

On that note, we welcome and congratulate Rapa Nui and Wallis & Futuna who were endorsed as government members by the Regional Council of Ministers last October. Each bring new perspectives and diversity to SPTO which now has 20 government members.

We acknowledge the contributions made by our government and private sector members to national and regional economic growth and we are continuously facilitate their participation in regional and international events. Two notable events for 2019 are the annual South Pacific Tourism Exchange and the inaugural 2019 China Pacific Tourism Year.

We are excited to work with New Zealand Maori as co-sponsors of the South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) to be held on May 8-10 in Auckland, New Zealand. The SPTE has been a major highlight for buyers and sellers for the past five years and we envisage a great turnout this year. Registration is now open and details are available on our website.

Last October the Regional Council of Tourism Ministers endorsed the 2019 China Pacific Tourism Year (CPTY) which SPTO and China have collaborated on since 2016. During APEC last year in PNG, President Xi Jinping officially announced the China Pacific Tourism Year for 2019 at a special meeting with Pacific Leaders who attended APEC. This is an achievement for SPTO members as China is a key emerging market for the region. It is the 6th largest tourism source market for the Pacific and accounts for 6.7% of the total market share, in 2017 an estimated 143,014 Chinese visited the region.

Our CPTY Working Group is working on the launch and subsequent events and we will keep you updated in upcoming editions

Finally, we welcome our new South Pacific Tourism Ambassador- Leoshina Mercy Kariha who was crowned Miss Pacific Islands 2018-19. We are delighted and look forward to working with Miss Kariha on our tourism promotion initiatives this year. Miss Kariha is the reigning Miss Madang and Miss Papua New Guinea. She joins an impressive lineup of Miss Pacific Islands who used the pageant platform to promote Pacific culture and people.

I end this note with my best wishes that 2019 will be an exciting and productive year for the industry and the region.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership.

Best Regards,

Christopher Cocker,

CEO South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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