The island nation of Tokelau is an untouched jewel in the Pacific made up of three small coral atolls – Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu with a total land area of 12 square kilometres. Located about 500km north of Samoa and home to around 1,500 people, it is part of the Realm of New Zealand where more than 7,000 Tokelauans live.
Tokelau is a non-self-governing territory of New Zealand, however, it has its own political institutions, judicial system, public services and full control of its budget. The position of Ulu-o-Tokelau, the Titular Head of Government, is rotated annually between the leaders (Faipule) of each atoll. The General Fono (national legislative body) meets three times a year and is made up of elected representatives from each atoll.
To get to Tokelau, one would have to travel by ferry, boarding from Apia in Samoa, however plans are in place to construct an airstrip to facilitate better access into the country, an objective proposed through the Tokelau Sustainable Tourism Policy (TSTP). At present Tokelau does not have a tourism industry nor does it have a system to formally record visitor arrivals. Plans to develop the TSTP was initiated by Tokelau’s Economic Development Division under the Department of Economic Development, Natural Resources and Environment (EDNRE) to guide tourism development on the island. The Economic Development Division is also progressing work on two other complementing strategies namely the Tokelau National FM Services and the Tokelau Meteorological Services Strategy 2022 – 2026.
Through a close partnership with the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), the TSTP will provide an overarching framework for the Government, industry, partners and communities. The TSTP policy will be closely linked to SPTO Pacific Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework (PSTPF). The TSTP will also be aligned to the Tokelau Economic Development Policy 2017 – 2020 and the Tokelau National Strategic Plan 2021 – 2026 where the local communities will be the central stakeholders whose input and vision will be fundamental in framing the policy.
Once developed the TSTP will set out a clear national vision, key priorities and goals for developing tourism in Tokelau, whilst focusing on setting a clear pathway built upon values and green principles that are determined by Tokelauans and aligned to the wider national priorities and acknowledges developmental and resource constraints.
In November SPTO’s Division of Sustainable Tourism and Development division will conduct consultations for the TSTP policy development alongside a plastic repurposing workshop for key representatives from each nuku (village).
Source: Tokelau Department of EDNRE and SPTO
Photo Credit: SPTO Image Gallery