The Minister of Tourism of French Polynesia, Honorable Nicole Bouteau, welcomed Chris Cocker, CEO of the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO), and Stéphanie Betz, Coordinator of the South Pacific Sailing Network (SPSN), on Wednesday afternoon for the signature of a partnership agreement between these two entities. Tehani Valenta, treasurer of SPSN and Koro Carman from Maori Tourism were also attending the signature of the MOU.
The SPTO, founded in 1983, is an intergovernmental organization, with headquarters in Fiji, which includes 20 governments and Pacific territories, as well as around 130 private sector members. Its goal is to increase tourism development and promotion in the region.
By developing cooperation, synergies and achieving common objectives between territories, the SPTO has been conducting regional strategic studies on sectoral development for 35 years, but also on sustainable tourism, training different islands concerned for the professionals, and carries out multiple marketing actions on the issuing markets.
The SPSN, founded in September 2017, is a regional association of private companies and professionals from seven Pacific countries. The aim is to encourage and support the development of sailing and yachting tourism in the islands of the South Pacific and strengthen cooperation in the promotion, structuring and training of this sector. This group has already received support from the government of French Polynesia, then from the Northland region in New Zealand, as well as from the French government, through the Pacific Fund.
As part of the Fourth edition of the Forum on Tourism Training and Career, the development of regional ties was being honored with several prestigious guests from the South Pacific states and territories, including Chris Cocker. On this occasion, the SPTO and the SPSN wished to formalize their collaborations, and join forces in promoting the South Pacific navigation basin for international sailing and yachting tourists, through a MOU now linking the two organizations.
In French Polynesia, sailing and yatching tourism is constantly growing, with 720 sailing ships registered in 2017 compared to around 500 in 2012. With an average stay of 90 days, these visitors participate in the local economy of many islands in the different archipelagos. , directly benefiting maintenance companies, services, tourism and convenience stores. The total economic benefits are estimated in Polynesia at nearly one billion francs each year. On a regional scale, more than 1500 sailboats cross the Pacific each year and are distributed successively in different states and territories. They spend mainly and directly with local communities and thus participate in setting the populations in their islands of origin, especially for those who are away from main economic centers or traditional tourist flows.
The partnership between SPTO and SPSN therefore aims to strengthen the positioning, promotion and structuring of the regional navigation basin and to increase its attractiveness through joint actions and networking of the various actors. In addition, it must support the development of services offered by local populations.
A part of the partnership concerns the preservation of the environment, and must allow both the awareness and involvement of international boaters in the face of the fragility and protection of marine ecosystems, the monitoring of pollution, and their environmental responsibility. In the same vein, guidelines and recommendations must be disseminated in order to encourage private and public stakeholders to invest in eco-friendly and environmentally-friendly reception infrastructures in the various territories concerned.
In addition, this convention encourages the creation, development and support of nautical sailing events throughout the Pacific Basin, based on the enhancement of cultural and historical diversity intrinsic to each destination, particularly in terms of navigation. traditional.
This sector of the international tourist boating is a vector of growth and economic dynamism in various navigation zones in the world. It is therefore appropriate for all Pacific island destinations to build this development with a methodical, cautious and controlled approach, to promote inclusive and responsible tourism, respectful of people’s lifestyles, and natural eco-systems.
[Source: Tahiti Tourism press release 26 October 2018]