Tourism Sector first to pilot E.P.I.C. tool

A tool that can assist all sectors with the review of their respective sector plans has been trialed by the Samoa tourism sector. 

The Every Policy Is Connected (E.P.I.C.) tool is an online application that replaces the excel tool and identifies the gaps in sector plans which can be improved such as aligning issues and actions with indicators to ensure they are measurable.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) is facilitating this initiative for Samoa and other member states in a bid to support efforts in developing comprehensive and integrated indicator frameworks and national policies.

The initiative is spearheaded by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S.) and is supported by the Ministry of Finance.

The trial runs through 14 sectors in the country with tourism sector through the Samoa Tourism Authority (S.T.A.) becoming the first ones to trial the programme.

The S.T.A. Chief Executive Officer, Fa’amatuainu Lenata’i Suifua, said that they are in the process of finalising the Samoa Tourism Sector Plan for the next five years.

He also said that this is a timely opportunity to apply the E.P.I.C. Tool with support from the UN-ESCAP.

“This is a vital tool to assist in conducting our work, especially during these difficult times where efficiency is needed to produce opportunities for our Tourism Industry members and continue to prepare for when borders do open up” Faamatuainu said in a statement issued by the S.T.A.

In a separate interview with the Samoa Observer, Fa’amatuainu said an estimated 2,706 tourism employees have been laid off. 

Furthermore, a series of workshops were conducted at LAVA Hotel in Apia within the past three weeks.

It was facilitated virtually by UN-ESCAP to support the process with an application of the upgraded tool, in order to review the current status of the draft Tourism Sector Plan and determine recommendations the tool can provide in the areas of coverage and monitoring for consideration by S.T.A. and its key stakeholders.

The UN-ESCAP team, in showcasing and applying the newest version of the app for the first time, saw the workshop bringing together the expertise of S.T.A. and partner agencies, such as the Samoa Hotels Association, Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association, Aleipata Tourism Association, and officials from key line ministries, including the S.B.S. and the Economic Planning and Policy Division of the Ministry of Finance.

There was an emphasis on the Government agencies that are involved in developing policy frameworks as well as monitoring and evaluating its applications and track progress.

For the way forward, the contributions by participants to the objectives of the exercises conducted are valuable to validate the outputs to be used to improve the draft tourism sector plan. 

Participants were able to review coverage of issues for actions presented in the document, the final statistical indicators proposed for monitoring progress against these issues, and the alignment of steps to achieve the results.

The Authority acknowledged UN-ESCAP for the support and the initial trial of the tool with the Tourism Sector, as all strive to recover and sustain their livelihood during these trying times.

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