Regional Tourism Sector achieves 3.16 million visitor arrivals in 2018

“2018 was a favorable year for the regional tourism sector with a total of 3.16 million visitor arrivals during the year. Of this, air arrivals were 2.14 million in 2018, 1.6% above 2017 while sea arrivals, mainly cruise (day visitors) were 1.02 million,” said SPTO Chief Executive Officer, Chris Cocker. These figures were released by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation in its 2018 Annual Visitor Arrivals Report.

The Report also noted that Pacific tourism receipts or visitor spending in destinations contributed US$3.8 billion or 11.1% to the region’s GDP and generated 131,010 jobs placing the tourism sector as a key driver of economic growth and employment creation for the Pacific Islands.

Highlights of the 2018 Annual Visitor Arrivals Report include:

  • In terms of air arrivals, Fiji continues as a popular destination, accounting for 40.7%, French Polynesia 10.1%, Cook Islands 7.9%, Samoa 7.8%, Papua New Guinea (PNG) 5.7%, New Caledonia 5.6%, Vanuatu 5.4% and Palau at 5.0%.
  • For total visitor arrivals (both air and cruise), Fiji led with 33.1%, New Caledonia followed at 18.1% whilst Vanuatu was third at 11.1%.
  • Air arrivals by key source markets rose by 13.5% with Europe, USA and New Zealand leading growth at 11.7%, 8.9% and 4.4%, respectively in 2018.
  • Australia and New Zealand continued to dominate tourist arrivals at 50.7%. USA followed at 10.5%, Europe 9.7%, Other Asia 7.7% and Pacific Islands at 7.1% share.
  • 9% of tourists were in the region for leisure whilst visiting friends and relatives (VFR) represented 13.9% and business 12.1%.
  • National tourism budgets for Pacific Island Countries in 2018 were US$105.75 million. Of this, marketing and promotion accounted for 56.7 of the total budget.

The 2018 Annual Visitor Arrivals Report is an annual SPTO publication for member countries and private sector members.  The Report provides detailed analysis on tourist arrivals by destinations, source markets, air and cruise arrivals and earnings.  Figures are derived from reports provided by the National Statistics Offices and the National Tourism Offices of SPTO member countries.

The report is available to SPTO member countries and private sector members. For access to the report, please contact

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: or +679 3304177


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