Roundtable looks at sustainable tourism

The inaugural U.N.E.S.C.O. roundtable on building sustainable tourism for green/blue livelihoods in Pacific Island countries was opened in Apia yesterday. 

Held at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel, the roundtable marks the opening of the week-long 28th annual Council of Tourism Ministers meeting where stakeholders and dignitaries from 17 Pacific Island countries are in attendance.   

The roundtable is the first kind of partnership between U.N.E.S.C.O. and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (S.P.T.O.) to discuss a number of key aspects of tourism development in the region. 

“U.N.E.S.C.O’s work in the area of culture and heritage, biosphere reserves and geo-paths, supported by our work in education, training and communication helps tourism to contribute to social, economic and human development,” Director of Office and U.N.E.S.C.O. Representative to Pacific States, Nisha said. 

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“It is prudent therefore for stakeholders present here to discuss how tourism can be shaped to be fully responsive to the current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, second keeping livelihoods sustainable while building the tourism industry and third ensuring positive experiences for tourists,” she said making reference to the booming tourism industry in the region in the past. 

Ms. Nisha added tourism and migration are two elements that are unstoppable because they are driven by social, political and economic needs as well as the human need to explore. 

“This roundtable provides an opportunity, with the support of the host Government Samoa, Samoa Tourism Authority, and takes this discussion further in partnership with regional organization for tourism – S.P.T.O. 

“This meeting marks the beginning of U.N.E.S.C.O’s partnership with S.P.T.O. to ensure that U.N.E.S.C.O’s expertise is brought here to support tourism in a manner that promotes Pacific heritage, natural resources, supports inclusion and rights of all, and helps build green and blue livelihood.”

S.P.T.O. chief executive officer, Christopher Cocker said the roundtable will allow stakeholders the opportunity to reflect and hear from various organisations and businesses on how their organisations and businesses are implementing strategies that integrate sustainable tourism and culture and will contribute to sustainable economic growth. 

Samoa’s Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Health, Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama said he is confident that the policies and outcomes of the dialogue will pave the way for sustainable tourism in the region. 

The roundtable dialogue is funded by U.N.E.S.C.O.

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