Wallis and Futuna – Perfect for niche tourism development

Wallis and Futuna is virtually an undiscovered destination with potential to attract and retain visitors due to its uniqueness in culture and pristine environment says the South Pacific Tourism Organisation Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Cocker.

Mr. Cocker made the comments after a scoping visit to the French Territory of Wallis and Futuna at the invitation of the Chamber of Commerce (CCIMA of Wallis & Futuna), “Wallis and Futuna joined SPTO as a new member last year as part of their strategic plan to sustainably increase visitor arrivals which is currently 100 a year.”

“I commend the foresight of the industry leaders to gradually introduce this destination market. We at SPTO are impressed with what we have discovered and the current administrative structures in place that will help build the industry and Wallis & Futuna as a tourism destination. We have also presented to the public and private sector stakeholders a SWOT analysis and recommendations that will aid in the work currently ongoing with the development of their National Tourism Strategy,” said Mr. Cocker.

According to Mr. Cocker, Wallis and Futuna is an untouched tourism destination with lush green and blue environment, a strong Catholic faith presence, and historical links as an American navy base during the World War II and a predominately French speaking territory. “They also have a vibrant and unique culture closely associated to Tonga and Samoa. It is perfect for niche tourism experiences such as cultural, religious, historical experiences, marine ecotourism, cycling, agritourism, food tourism, marine-based tourism such as expedition cruising, yachting, kite surfing, diving, Va’a canoeing, kayaking, trekking, whale watching, and schools and groups visits.”

During the week the SPTO team visited potential private sector members, scoped tourist attractions and facilities conducted training and provided information on the services provides for member countries.

Ms. Laurianne Verge, President of the CCIMA said SPTO’s mission in Wallis was very professional and helped them define their tourism marketing strategy, “It was an eye opener for many stakeholders of Wallis and Futuna as we now know where we stand among other Pacific Islands and working on our unique assets, we should be able to define our targets and marketing strategies to move our tourism industry forward.”

The visit coincided with two national events, the annual territory celebrations and the Miss Wallis and Futuna pageant, “We are grateful to the Chamber of Commerce for the invitation to witness these annual events which are drawcards to this nation,” said Mr. Cocker.

“We also appreciate the welcome and the valuable insights provided by the Territorial Assembly of Wallis and Futuna and all the stakeholders we met. We are especially grateful to Ms. Verge and her team for the wonderful hospitality they showed the SPTO team during our mission.”

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: alutu@spto.org or +679 3304177

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