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Woman with connections to Manono lands top tourism role

A woman with blood connection to Manono has been appointed to a top role with Pacific Trade Invest (P.T.I.) Australia.

Cath Cooksley-Little has landed the role of General Manager [Marketing, Communications and Tourism] and will work with Pacific tourism offices - including Samoa.

The appointment was announced in a statement issued by the P.T.I. Australia with the trade organisation adding that further to the new appointee managing communications and stakeholder engagement, Ms. Cooksley-Little will work with digital tourism partners and national tourism offices across the Pacific to deliver P.T.I. Australia’s Digital Tourism programme.

With tourism in the Pacific at a standstill, the programme has shifted its focus to support Pacific tourism operators to develop their digital marketing skills and capabilities, so they are in a good position to engage customers when international travel resumes.

The appointment was announced by P.T.I. Australia Trade and Investment Commissioner, Caleb Jarvis, who acknowledged Cath’s contribution to P.T.I. Australia’s strategic direction, and the organisation’s shift to support the Pacific manage the impact of COVID-19.

“I’m delighted to have Cath join our executive team. Over the last four years she has developed her knowledge across our key strategic areas and has been crucial in the development of P.T.I. Australia 2022 Strategic Plan,” said Mr. Jarvis.

“Marketing and Communications has been integral in our COVID-19 pivot, supporting the change in our program delivery to online channels as well as increasing awareness and continuing to support the Pacific’s private sector participating in the digital economy.”

He added that in 2020, Ms. Cooksley-Little has shown exemplary leadership and taken on many of the General Manager duties for the Pacific tourism sector work.

Speaking about the role and current business environment in the Pacific, Ms. Cooksley-Little reinforced the need to support Pacific tourism providers, and to continue P.T.I. Australia’s mission of empowering female-led businesses in particular.

“I’m thrilled to be taking on the role of General Manager – Marketing, Communications & Tourism. The Pacific private sector – especially tourism – is under immense pressure as it copes with the uncertainty of if and when international travel will recommence,” she added.

“My mother was born on Manono Tai in Faleu, Samoa, to see the effect closed borders is having especially on women-led businesses in the Pacific is heartbreaking and I’m committed to keep championing their voice and exploring initiatives to help them survive and thrive beyond the pandemic.”

She further emphasised that now more than ever it’s crucial to look at how we can support on the ground tourism operators to navigate and actively put in place strategies to survive and re-engage when international travel resumes.

The announcement comes as P.T.I. Australia also launches its new Learning Hub dedicated to supporting Pacific-based tourism operators with their digital marketing activities.

Developed in collaboration with travel technology provider WHL Group, the Hub acts as an on-demand learning resource with a variety of tutorials on how to perform digital marketing tasks including website updates, Online Travel Agent channel integration, search marketing, content creation, and more. 

"COVID-19 has forced many Pacific tourism operators to reassess their current tools and platforms,” Cath added.

“We’re so pleased to expand our support to them by providing an online resource for information that supports building their digital skills and capability.

“One of the gaps we’ve identified is the digital capacity of businesses and skill sets of professionals in the Pacific. 

“Our new Learning Hub and upcoming Digital Accelerator Program – which we’ll be sharing more information about in coming months – will help to bridge this gap, supporting businesses to be more effective in a digital economy.”

For more information about P.T.I. Australia’s Digital Tourism program or to access the Learning Hub, visit the P.T.I. Australia website. 

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