The success of this year’s South Pacific Association of National Tourism Offices (SPANTO) events has encouraged the organisation to be back in force around New Zealand next year.
Dates and regions will be officially announced after SPANTO’s annual general meeting on 12 December. However early indications are that the number of events will increase.
The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and Air New Zealand have both indicated that they will throw their support behind the events again.
‘We had great attendance this year,’ says SPANTO chair Rob Thompson, of Tahiti Tourisme ‘and that has ratified our decision to hold these events. They are a great way for the RTOs, especially smaller ones in the South Pacific, to get out to the regions.’
Alisi Lutu, marketing manager of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation, says SPTO focuses on showcasing the Hidden Treasures of the South Pacific at the SPANTO educational functions.
‘Hidden Treasures represents smaller island destinations from the region that do not currently have representation in New Zealand,’ Lutu says. ‘We have found that agents are excited to receive updates of new products and services on the Hidden Treasures destinations of Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Federated Sates of Micronesia, Tuvalu, Tonga and American Samoa.’
Lutu says SPANTO gives SPTO the opportunity to further educate agents through its accredited South Pacific Specialist online training programme, specifically tailored for travel agents.
‘Currently we have 90 certified South Pacific Specialists from New Zealand.’
Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Samoa, New Caledonia, Niue and Vanuatu are all members of SPANTO and regularly take part in the events.
(Source: TRAVELinc MEMO 06 November 2017)