Samoan lands top role
A Samoan woman, Christina Leala-Gale, is the new Manager of Sustainable Tourism Development at the Fiji-based South Pacific Tourism Organisation (S.P.T.O).
Ms. Leala-Gale will be responsible for strengthening S.P.T.Os work in the area of sustainable tourism development. She brings over 14 years of experience to the position.
In welcoming her to the organisation, Chief Executive Officer Chris Cocker said: “Christina joins S.P.T.O with a wealth of experience in various areas such as sustainable development, tourism planning, project management and climate change to name a few.
“S.P.T.O is indeed fortunate to have an asset like Christina to share her technical expertise and knowledge in the field of sustainable tourism development, which is an area of great importance to the Pacific Islands.
“The Sustainable Tourism Development Division is of course a new unit in S.P.T.O and as we evolve to also undertake tourism development programs, I am pleased that we have qualified managers like Christina at the helm.”
“2017 is an important year for the Pacific and the entire global community and Christina has joined us at an opportune time to contribute to national, regional and global initiatives like the International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development.
She will work closely with other regional agencies and development partners on a range of environmental issues including energy efficiency and reduction, climate change and disaster risk management and their links to sustainable tourism,” he added.
Ms. Leala-Gale joins S.P.T.O from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P) in Apia where she managed a regional project on reducing the vulnerability of community livelihoods to the impacts of climate change through improved national meteorological services in 14 Pacific Island countries.
Prior to that, she held a variety of positions over 10 years at Samoa Tourism Authority (S.T.A), working on tourism planning and development, climate change adaptation in the tourism sector and managing the recovery of the Samoan tourism sector following the 2009 tsunami and Tropical Cyclone Evan in 2012.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Information Systems from the University of the South Pacific.
“I am very pleased to be part of the team at S.P.T.O and I look forward to working closely with our members and development partners on how we can improve in the area of sustainable tourism as a region,” she said.
Ms. Leala-Gale hails from Lepea village outside Apia, which is known for its sliding rocks, an eco-tourism activity that is managed by the community. She is joined in Suva by her husband, Tommy Gale, and five children.
Based in Suva, S.P.T.O works with 16 Pacific island countries to market and develop tourism in South Pacific region.
Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the S.P.T.O 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.