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SPTO launches SME Recovery Toolkit

The five beneficiary countries of Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu were joined by tourism stakeholders, the SPTO, the Travel Foundation and the United States Embassy in Suva at the virtual launch of the SPTO SME Recovery Toolkit on 22 October 2021.  The launch marked the culmination of a year-long effort.  In facilitating the launch event, the Chairman of the Regional Working Group and Chief Executive Officer of the Tourism Authority of Kiribati, Mr. Petero Manufolau, noted with appreciation the collaborative efforts of the countries, the Travel Foundation and SPTO in delivering a practical resource for tourism SMEs in the Pacific.

“As we progress recovery efforts, this resource will be particularly useful in supporting the efforts of our Pacific tourism SMEs in navigating these unprecedented times for the tourism sector” said Mr. Manufolau.

Funded by the US Embassy in Fiji through its 2020 Economic Recovery Grant, the project took a regional approach, by mobilising 5 beneficiary countries to contribute to the design of the Toolkit.  Comprising seven (7) chapters, the Toolkit provides information on (i) evolving market trends, (ii) designing and adapting products to meet demand (iii) health, safety and security, (iv) pricing, (v) getting ready for business and routes to market (vi) customer service and communication and (vii) online sales and marketing.

Speaking at the launch event, Deputy Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy in Fiji, Mr Will Romine congratulated the five countries and partners as well as acknowledged the timeliness of the initiative.

 “As borders reopen, the urge to welcome tourists must be balanced with safety and therefore SMEs that will use this toolkit will be able to have the agility and the know-how to respond to the pandemic necessities”, he said. 

The Toolkits aims to aid SMEs respond, adapt and diversify products and services through improved understanding of the changing consumer needs. SPTO Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Christopher Cocker during his launch address acknowledged the partnerships forged in making the Toolkit a reality. 

“We thank the Travel Foundation for their technical support, our review partners and the US Embassy in Fiji for recognising the role of SPTO in developing an important tool that will benefit not only the five countries but also all our Member Countries” said Mr. Cocker.

The toolkit will be made available through the SPTO Knowledge Hub free of charge in November.  A Train the Trainer Program for NTOs and SME support organisations will be carried out.  To further support uptake by SMEs, the Toolkit will be converted to audio-visual formats. To access the recording of the virtual launch, please click here.

For more information, please contact sustainable@spto.org

Image Caption: Virtual launch of the SPTO SME Toolkit

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