On Monday 14th November, the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) launched a week-long plastics re-purposing workshop in Apia, Samoa, under the Pacific Tourism Waste Action Initiative (PTWAI). The PTWAI is a collaborative effort between SPTO and Fiji based artisan, Mr. Warwick Marlow. The initiative promotes strong community engagement in repurposing plastic waste to maintain cleaner communities and provide participants with alternative income streams.
Successfully delivered in Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Fiji and FSM, the initiative has been well received and has even attracted international recognition through the 2020 Creative Tourism Awards.
Acknowledging the importance of the workshops, SPTO Sustainable Tourism Manager, Ms. Christina Leala Gale, noted that COVID-19 has forced the region to consider a more sustainable approach to tourism that is economically resilient, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive.
“The Pacific Tourism Waste Action Initiative works through communities to support the achievement of the SDGs, the SPTO and Pacific Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework vision and Goals as well as the national tourism development strategies of our Member Countries”.
“With many SPTO members now endeavoring to become champions in tourism, the promotion of a circular economy is essential in supporting efforts towards minimizing the use of plastics”, said Ms. Leala Gale.
Reiterating these sentiments SPTO Chief Executive Christopher Cocker emphasized the importance of tourism transformation as the industry seeks to recover from the pandemic.
“We know that we cannot simply revert to old practices and trends. Pacific Tourism must build back, smarter, stronger, and better. With the guidance of key strategies such as the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and the PSTPF, we have clear guidance on how to leverage opportunities to inspire community action, provide alternative sources of livelihoods and encourage strong and diversified engagement in environmental protection, and conservation”.
“In early November SPTO convened the inaugural Pacific Sustainable Tourism Leadership Summit (PSTLS), which was an important platform for engagement with members, partners, and other stakeholders. Under the theme of “Partnering for a resilient, prosperous and inclusive Pacific through sustainable tourism”, the Summit allowed us to discuss common challenges, lessons learned and mechanisms to aid the industry’s long-term recovery. PTWAI is one such mechanism that aligns well with the PSTLS recommendations and we are thrilled to be rolling out this workshop in Samoa”, said Mr. Cocker.
The trip to Samoa has also provided SPTO with a valuable opportunity to implement the following over the course of a two-week period (11- 28 November):