Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi chaired the Council of Tourism Ministers Meeting held at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel in Apia yesterday.
Addressing the Council, Tuilaepa spoke about Pacific regionalism and the blue Pacific identity, emphasizing that strengthening the common bond through partnerships and cooperation is imperative.
“The blue Pacific and the blue continent is indeed a common identity for our Pacific people,” he said.
“It directly defines us and provides iconic images and branding of pristine environments, beautiful and friendly people of exotic and artistic cultures in our international tourist source markets.”
“The theme of our conference is befitting as the Blue pacific is indeed our home and our livelihood. And we indeed collectively own 25 million square kilometers of the Blue Pacific Ocean. It is a thriving resource pool that greets and blesses us in our everyday lives and those of our tourists.”
“It is irreplaceable if lost. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of protecting our biodiversity and I’m very pleased that you have united with U.N.E.S.C.O. to map out a plan of action to promote and enable commitment to sustainable tourism as a mechanism towards achievement of sustainable development goals by 2030.”
He reminded the Council about the threat of climate change that renders all of the Pacific Island nations vulnerable. He also called for continued and unified action in the pursuit of sustainable solutions for a thriving blue economy.
“Let no one underestimate the kind of climate change challenges that render all our countries vulnerable, climate change challenges are real and we only have to watch television to note what is happening around the world.”
“With the reality of natural disasters, or even just to stroll down to the beach to note the sea around us, rising. It calls for all of us to unite in the promotion of solutions and the raising of necessary alarms with our local and international committees and most of all to unite in prayer for the sustainability of our Pacific, our livelihood and our home”
“We as Pacific people are the masters of our own destiny working together on a common vision for a region of peace, security, social inclusion and economic prosperity so that our people will live free healthy and productive happy lives.”
He added that it is vital that actions taken now through sustainable tourism development strategies will lend to inspiring the next generation to continue keeping the environment clean and pristine as well as be inspired to express our Pacific uniqueness through our culture and experiences that attract tourists.
The Prime Minister also congratulated South Pacific Tourism Organisation Board of Directors’ move to include the membership of three more Pacific island nations,
“I’m pleased to note that S.P.T.O. Board of Directors met yesterday and had deliberated on key tourism issues and also conceded the applications for Rapanui and Futuna and Tokelau to join the S.P.T.O. These national territories and domain have recognized the importance of working with Pacific Island Nations to join the deliberation of common and residences and also gain support from regional experts and peers.”
“This also bears witness to the active leadership of the S.P.T.P. that its recognized by countries that are dependent on tourism as a tool in achievement of its national development objectives, I’m aware that S.P.T.O. provides the platforms for member countries to share their learning collaborations sub-regional and regional level to create blue business and economic opportunities that contribute to livelihoods of our communities.”
The Prime Ministers address was followed by a response by the outgoing Chairman of the Council, Bob Loughman, Deputy Prime Minister for Vanuatu and Minister of Tourism.
Organised by S.P.T.O. and S.T.A, items on the agenda for the Council of Tourism Ministers Meeting this year include updates on the China Pacific Tourism Year (C.P.T.Y.) 2019 and regional projects. The Ministers were also briefed on presentations from S.P.R.E.P, P.I.F.S, S.P.T.O. China chief representative, Elemental Water Makers, S.P.C. and U.N.E.S.C.O.
[Source: Samoa Observer]