Sustainability is etched in the Federated States of Micronesia’s (FSM) strategic development goals and tourism policy, says Bermance Aldis, Assistant Secretary, FSM Tourism Office.
An extensive community and stakeholder consultation process was undertaken over a period of two years followed by a year of validation with communities, tourism stakeholders, and state leaders. The process ensured communities take ownership of the policy and ensure that they understood its goals and objectives from the outset. Inspired by the Pacific Tourism Strategy coordinated by SPTO, FSM extended the coverage of the policy to include investment opportunities and actionable items within each State.
“It was through this consultation on developing the Tourism Policy that I understood what sustainable tourism meant within the communities and at the industry level. The tourism office had to approach it from the bottom up to have the communities take ownership of the policy and ensure they understood its goals and objectives,” he said.
“The concept of public-private partnership was central to our approach. We have also been fortunate to work with the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) to become the first SPTO Member Country to sign off on the Statement of Commitment for Sustainable Tourism Pacific and the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism.”
Mr Aldis mentioned that at the signing of the Glasgow Declaration, the FSM President H. E David W. Panuelo delivered the keynote address on behalf of the Pacific region.
“As a signatory of the Glasgow declaration, we are working with and in collaboration with our FSM Department of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management (DECCEM) to ensure FSM is committed and effectively implementing this Declaration, Aldis said.
“With the support of the State Leaders in 2016, the endorsement of the FSM National Tourism Policy, I believe we are heading in the right direction”.
The Policy intends to halt the decline in visitor arrivals over the next 3 years, then to progressively develop the FSM tourism sector to become a leading sustainable tourism destination by 2023. This public private partnership is key to achieving Goal 1 of the PSTPF, which is Prosperous Economies for the communities and the industry. “