B.S.P. backs Pacific tourism

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TOURISM DEVELOPMENT: Chris Cocker (middle) with senior officials of the Bank South Pacific.

TOURISM DEVELOPMENT: Chris Cocker (middle) with senior officials of the Bank South Pacific.

The region’s biggest bank ‘Bank of the South Pacific’ reaffirmed its commitment to the South Pacific Tourism Organisation with a $55,000 sponsorship for the South Pacific Tourism Exchange 2018, the region’s largest tourism event. 

S.P.T.O Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Cocker said that the financial support from B.S.P., particularly the region’s largest bank was a nod to the event and its capacity to bring tourism stakeholders together from the region and globally. 

“Sustainable tourism is the way forward for our region, specifically culture, is at the core of each Pacific islander, so I am pleased to launch our theme for SPTE18 which is ‘Our Culture is yours to Discover, Experience & Respect’ ” said Mr. Cocker.

B.S.P. Head of Marketing Nirdesh Singh said that B.S.P and S.P.T.O’s goals of sustainability aligned and that they hoped to work together towards a greener ‘Pacific’ for the future.

“We recognise S.P.T.E.18 as an important event for the Pacific especially Fiji because tourism is huge, as a regional bank we see the benefit from the event because of the potential to grow our Pacific market as well as looking at ways to support sustainable Pacific businesses in Tourism which align with our Corporate social responsibility program” said Mr. Singh. 

He added that B.S.P. will also have a booth at the event and network with sellers from across the Pacific as well as international travel houses.

There are 360 million global tourism trips annually. Many of these trips including to the South Pacific are motivated primarily by cultural heritage, a small niche market with key markets to the South Pacific coming from the US, UK and Germany according to S.P.T.O’s Cultural and Heritage Report 2014.

Miss Pacific Islands Gwendolyn To’omalatai will be there to support the event.
Miss Pacific Islands Gwendolyn To’omalatai will be there to support the event.

“Papua New Guinea is the top destination for cultural heritage in the region for the Europe and North America market because they have an authentic tribal culture but the same can be said for our other member countries. The key is marketing our Pacific destinations as authentic cultural destinations, while maintaining and preserving the culture of our Pacific heritage. Our Pacific culture is a unique selling point that differentiates the Pacific with our global competitors, such as the Indian Ocean Islands, Caribbean, Queensland and Asia. “” said Mr. Cocker. 

S.P.T.E.18 remains relevant for S.P.T.O. member countries like Tonga.

 “For instance Tonga who are recovering from the impacts of Cyclone Gita, S.P.T.E.18 is a great platform for Tonga to meet international buyers and update them on the status of products and their destination” said Mr. Cocker.

Mr. Cocker also said that Miss Pacific Islands Gwendolyn To’omalatai who is S.P.T.O’s Tourism Ambassador will be at S.P.T.E.18 promoting the event on social media. He went on to also acknowledge other key sponsors, Fiji Airways, Nauru Airlines, Jacks Fiji and the event media partners, Fiji TV, Mai Life Magazine and TravMedia.

S.P.T.E.18 has 59 buyers from 13 countries including Australia, USA, Canada, France, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Korea, India and Fiji that’s and 50 sellers from 15 countries.

This commemorates B.S.P and S.P.T.O’s 3-year sponsorship deal for SPTE, which was signed in 2016.  

S.P.T.E. kicks off on the 12th & 13th April 2018 at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Australia held just before the Australian Tourism Exchange (15- 19 April) and right after Fiji Tourism Exchange (10 -12 April)

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