The Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) congratulated the six recipients who own and operate businesses in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, and Vanuatu under the E-Commerce Grant for Pacific MSMEs Round One.
SPTO in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Republic of Korea under the PIF-ROK Cooperation Fund rewarded the six (6) grant recipients. Under the Enhancing E-Commerce Capabilities for Pacific MSMEs Project, the recipients will use the grant funding for building up more resilient E-Commerce and digital technology capacities for their daily business operations in meeting global marketplace demands.
SPTO CEO Chris Cocker mentioned that through the E-Commerce grant facility, Pacific MSMEs and community business clusters in the tourism sector provided opportunities to increase tourism and trade through increased visibility of the Pacific as a tourism destination and its products in the Korean market.
Mr Cocker emphasized the excellent potential for Pacific MSMEs as an ideal source market targeting Korean consumers interested in a diverse range of niche products only available in Pacific Island Countries.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the growing importance of digitalisation, seeking new opportunities and innovative activities. This project is an excellent example of tourism and trade collaborating and complementing each other for the benefit of our stakeholders. By promoting our Pacific’s unique destinations, culture, and products, we would inspire Korean consumers to visit the Pacific.” Mr Cocker said.
The Republic of Korea Ambassador, His Excellency Youngkyu Park, highlighted that the E-commerce grant was a crucial component that helped promote tourism and trade between the Pacific and Korea and assist Pacific businesses in enhancing their e-commerce capabilities.
“The initiation of this e-commerce grant contributes to the work under the pacific grant e-commerce initiative. We are happy that SPTO and the Forum Secretariat are working together on this project under the Republic of Korea and the Pacific Islands Forum Cooperation Fund (RPCF) which will surely benefit all of its recipients,” Ambassador Park said.
“It is encouraging to note that for the first call of the grant, there were over 120 applications received. The E-Commerce grant facility moves towards digital integration, a mutual priority for the Pacific Private sector, an area where we must continue to provide businesses our support.”
The RPCF was initiated to address Forum leaders’ priorities in enhancing Pacific Island Countries’ social and economic development aspirations.
Acting/Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Dr. Filimon Manoni, shared that setting up the E-commerce grant facility was to increase the visibility of the Pacific as a tourism destination and its products to the Korean consumer.
He mentioned that the project would see an additional three Rounds, where members of the Pacific private sector and businesses would be able to send in expressions of interest towards the E-Commerce Grant Facility.
“The Forum Secretariat appreciates the working partnerships with SPTO and the Korean importers association to target the Korean market to enhance Pacific – Korea trade opportunities through exports and tourism E-commerce for Pacific MSMEs.” Dr Manoni said.