SPTO announces new partnership with New Zealand Māori Tourism

SPTO Chairlady and CEO Samoa Tourism Authority, Papalii Sonja Hunter; SPTO CEO, Christopher Cocker and CEO NZ Māori Tourism, Pania Tyson-Nathan

SPTO Chairlady and CEO Samoa Tourism Authority, Papalii Sonja Hunter; SPTO CEO, Christopher Cocker and CEO NZ Māori Tourism, Pania Tyson-Nathan

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation is delighted to announce that it is partnering with New Zealand Māori Tourism for the premiere regional tourism expo, the South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) to be held Thursday 9 and Friday 10 May 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand.

“We are excited to be partnering with NZ Māori Tourism in an effort to bridge connectivity between Pacific Islands and Māori tourism for protection of our cultures, our oceans, our places, our people and our future as well as sustainable development of tourism in our region. This is a most welcome partnership and we look forward to coordinating together another productive business to business event for our global buyers and regional sellers at SPTE19” said Chris Cocker, SPTO Chief Executive Officer.

NZ Māori Tourism and SPTO will work collaboratively on advocating for and responding to pertinent issues to support the development and sustainable growth of the industry.

“By partnering with SPTO we are providing an opportunity for Māori and Pacific tourism businesses to learn from each other, network, and find opportunities to work together in the future. We know that visitors are seeking authentic cultural experiences when they travel, and Māori and Pacific Islands tourism are well placed to share their culture, stories, people, and places of significance with visitors” said Pania Tyson-Nathan, Chief Executive of NZ Māori Tourism.

The announcement of dates was made after months of consultation and deliberation by SPTO, “We are calling on global travel agents and wholesalers to join us at SPTE19 for our milestone sixth year in Auckland, New Zealand and encourage your participation in connecting and building more of your South Pacific tourism business. Our goal is to continue to strengthen the position of the South Pacific region as a desirable holiday and travel destination globally” said SPTO Chief Executive Officer, Chris Cocker.

He added that the SPTE is an important and one of a kind event for the Pacific Islands that progressively supports the growth of a competitive destination and sustainable tourism development for the region.

SPTE19 will allow Pacific Island and Māori tourism suppliers and operators to engage and do direct business-to-business (B2B) meetings with travel wholesalers and agents from around the world. It also allows great opportunity to strengthen promotion of the NZ and Pacific Islands travel product for international visitors and creating synergy for the Pacific to piggy back on the booming New Zealand tourism market.

“SPTO is happy to be going back to Auckland, New Zealand where we first started SPTE in 2014 but most especially since we’ve just involved in the inaugural NZ Māori Tourism Dragon’s Den competition where we witnessed first hand some amazing ideas centred on culture and sustainable tourism” said Mr Cocker.

For the past five years, the SPTE has coincided with TRENZ (NZ) and ATE (Australia), two major tourism travel events in the Oceania region that attract large numbers of travel wholesalers and agents from all over the globe to participate in B2B trade exchanges with local tourism suppliers and operators across New Zealand and Australia.

The MOU with New Zealand Māori Tourism was signed at the SPTO Board of Directors meeting held at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows in Apia on Thursday, 5th of October 2018.



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 18 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia.

Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the People’s Republic of China. In addition to government members, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation enlists a private sector membership base.

For further information, please contact:


Alisi Lutu, Marketing Manager

South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO)

Email: alutu@spto.org or +679 3304177

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