Tourism Ministers reminded of blue Pacific identity

Tourism Ministers of the Pacific have concluded deliberations on regionalism and ways to further stimulate visitor growth through sustainable tourism development. 

The 28th Council of Tourism Ministers Meeting culminated a week of meetings in Apia, Samoa on the theme, ‘Protecting our Blue Pacific, our Livelihood and our Home’. 

“The blue Pacific and the blue continent is indeed a common identity for our Pacific people,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, who chaired the meeting.

 “It directly defines us and provides iconic images and branding of pristine environments, beautiful and friendly people of exotic and artistic cultures in our international tourist source markets. 

“The theme of our conference is befitting as the Blue pacific is indeed our home and our livelihood, and we indeed collectively own 25 million square kilometers of the Blue Pacific Ocean. It is a thriving resource pool that greets and blesses us in our everyday lives and those of our tourists, and it is irreplaceable if lost.” 

“It is imperative that sustainable tourism development strategies are robust so that the industries are successful and our peoples prosper.”  

The outgoing Chairman of the Council, Bob Loughman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism for Vanuatu also delivered his address, and acknowledged continued partnership and cooperation within the region. 

The Council elected Tuilaepa as the new Chairman. 

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During the meeting, the Ministers endorsed:

- Applications from Rapa Nui, Wallis & Futuna and Tokelau to become new members of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (S.P.T.O.) 

- Resolutions from the S.P.T.O. Board of Directors meeting 

- S.P.T.O. 2019 Work Plan and Budget 

- The S.P.T.O. member countries fully support the China Pacific Tourism Year 2019  (CPTY 2019)

- Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (C.R.O.P.) Charter 

The Ministers were briefed and noted presentations from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (P.I.F.S.), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.), The Pacific Community (S.P.C.), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Pacific Office (U.N.E.S.C.O.) and Elemental Water Makers. 

Attending the Council meeting were Prime Minister Tuilaepa, Bob Loughman- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism of Vanuatu, Tai Tura - Cook Islands, Dennis Momotaro - Republic of the Marshal Islands, Bartholomew Parapolo - Solomon Islands, with other member Islands represented by proxies including American Samoa, China, Fiji, French Polynesia, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Tonga. 

Organised by S.P.T.O. and the Samoa Tourism Authority, the Council meeting was held at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows.

The next meeting to be hosted by Niue in October 2019. 

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