South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO)’s Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Cocker recently returned from a three-day visit to the Republic of Marshall Islands as part of the regional organisation’s services to its 17 Pacific Island member countries, inclusive of island states in the North Pacific.
The visit provided an opportunity for SPTO to dialogue with key players in Marshall Islands’ tourism industry such as the Marshall Islands Visitors Authority (MIVA), Ministry of Finance and the Office of the President to discuss issues pertinent to the ongoing development of the island nation’s tourism industry. The meetings were also an avenue for Marshall Islands to highlight initiatives and programmes in place to ensure the sustainability of its tourism industry.
Reporting on his recent visit, Mr. Cocker said, “The mission to RMI was a success and I am honoured to have held discussions with Her Excellency the President, as they echo the challenges faced by the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) which I visited prior to the Marshall Islands visit. Of course, every challenge presents an opportunity and SPTO will do its utmost to ensure our members’ are assisted.”
“Access, Human Resource and infrastructure development continue to be major constraints which need to be overcome, if these island nations are to have a sustainable tourism industry. Of course, these are existing challenges that will take more than a nation to resolve which is why our Large Ocean States need the support and assistance of our donors and development partners”.
Mr. Cocker updated H.E Madame Hilda Heine on global and regional tourism trends and developments, and the ongoing work that SPTO is undertaking with donors and development partners to implement the Pacific Tourism Strategy (PTS) 2015-2019 of which aviation and infrastructure development are two critical components.
“Her Excellency is supportive of regional tourism activities and projects that will positively impact and strengthen RMI’s tourism industry. Madame President also spoke about RMI’s ‘One Island and One Product’ program which is a wonderful initiative, ensuring the sustainability of RMI’s tourism products, its culture as seen through the artefacts and handicraft items made, and the industry as a whole,” Mr. Cocker added.
“SPTO will certainly extend its support to the island nation through the provision of training in areas of marketing, customer service and packaging. We will also provide training support in research and statistics, specifically data collection and analysis which is a great need in our member countries, including Marshall Islands.”
Marshall Islands have enjoyed a steady growth in visitor arrivals since 2013, with a recorded 5,810 tourists estimated to have visited the island nation in 2016. This is the highest number of visitors to have arrived in Marshall Islands since 2011.
Photo Caption: SPTO CEO Christopher Cocker with Her Excellency Madam Hilda Heine, President of the Republic of Marshall Islands, and Brenda Alik-Maddison, General Manager Marshall Islands Visitors Authority (MIVA)
Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region. Its 18 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the People’s Republic of China. In addition to government members, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation enlists a private sector membership base.
For more information, contact:
Alisi Lutu, Marketing Manager
South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO)
Email: email@example.com or +679 3304177
(Source: South Pacific Tourism Organisation [SPTO] Press Release 31 August 2017)