Chris Cocker, CEO of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), will be visiting the Cook Islands from 16 to 20 July 2018 as part of his visitation programme to the 18 Government members.
SPTO is the Tourism regional body established to market and develop Tourism in the South Pacific. SPTO’s main goals are to improve air and sea access to the islands, enhance brand ‘South Pacific’ and develop capacity of Government and private sector for sustainable tourism. Since its establishment in 1983 the South Pacific member countries have expanded to include American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
During Chris’s visit he discuss key tourism matters with the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, Government and key members of the tourism industry. The stakeholder meetings will discuss strategies for SPTO, outlook for tourism in the Cook Islands and various issues and challenges in developing sustainable tourism. Halatoa Fua, CEO of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation noted ‘Chris’s last visit to the Cook Islands was in 2016 for the SPTO Council of Ministers meeting. We welcome Chris back to the Cook Islands as part of his Small Island State (SIS) visit. We will discuss key matters of interest to the development of the tourism industry and ensuring sustainable tourism is embedded into our plans”.
Visitor arrivals to the South Pacific region grew by 3.1% in 2017 and is becoming one of the largest sectors in the region. Fiji, French Polynesia and the Cook Islands are the top 3 destinations in terms of visitor arrivals, which collectively own over 55% of the total market share. Tourism receipts reached an estimated total of US$3.6 billion with an average GDP contribution of 18%, and an annual contribution of 8.2%. Total number of accommodations recorded 2,639 in 14 of the Pacific ACP and SPTO member countries. Tourist arrivals to the region, forecasted to grow by 4.5% in 2018 and 4.1% in 2019. The visitor arrivals over the next five years is projected to reach 2.7 million in 2023.
[Source: Cook Islands Tourism – Coconut Connection | 17th July 2018]