Regional Ministers of Tourism have been reminded that regional collaboration and partnership through learning and exchange will ensure the sustainability of the regional tourism industry.
The reminder was issued at the 27th meeting of the S.P.T.O. Council of Ministers held in Port Vila, Vanuatu last week.
Samoa’s Minister of Tourism, Sala Fata Pinati, was scheduled to attend the meeting but he had to pull out last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. The General Manager of the Samoa Tourism Authority, Papali’i Sonja Hunter, was present.
At the meeting, the Ministers were briefed on a number of regional tourism activities including the progress to date on the agri- tourism initiative by the key partners, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (C.T.A.), S.P.T.O, Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (P.I.P.S.O.), International Fund for Agriculture Development (I.F.A.D.) and the Pacific Community (S.P.C.).
The Ministers expressed their support for planned regional and national activities outlined in the way forward for agri-tourism development in the Pacific and approved that S.P.T.O. develop proposals and seek funding to support the development and promotion of food tourism in the Pacific.
The Ministers acknowledged the assistance from the Asian Development Bank in the development of regional tourism and invited the A.D.B. to attend the 2018 S.P.T.O. Council of Tourism Ministers in October to provide an update on the progress of its regional tourism projects. The A.D.B. had attended the 26th Council meeting in Rarotonga in 2016 during which they announced their tourism development projects for the Pacific.
The Ministers also acknowledged the presentation by the New Zealand Maori Tourism Association, and the invitation to the World Indigenous Tourism Summit in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand on 15-18 April 2018.
With regards to the work of the S.P.T.O. Secretariat, the Ministers approved the S.P.T.O. Work plan and budget for 2018 and also the proposal by the government of Samoa to host the S.P.T.O. series of meetings in 2018 which will include the 28th S.P.T.O. Council of Ministers of Tourism meeting.
In recognition of the important role of the region’s private sector in tourism development, the Council also approved the appointment of five tourism industry members to serve on the Board of Directors from its next meeting in 2018.
The Council of Ministers meeting was attended by 17 of S.P.T.O’s 18 government members.