Wallis & Futuna affirmed its commitment to regional sustainable tourism through the endorsement of the Pacific Leader’s Sustainable Tourism Commitment (SOC) in Nadi late last week. As the 15th signatory, Wallis and Futuna has joined the Federated States of Micronesia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Niue, Vanuatu, Timor Leste, Tokelau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Cook Islands, American Samoa and Fiji.
The SOC re-enforces Pacific values and practices that support improved planning, development, and management of sustainable tourism, to preserve the future of Pacific destinations for future generations. It provides an opportunity for member countries of SPTO to elevate sustainable tourism as a regional priority for environmental, socio-cultural and economic development at the national level.
In signing the SOC, Wallis & Futuna’s President of the Commissions on Regional Cooperation, Economic Development and Tourism Hon. Lauriane Tialetagi-Verge, noted the importance of a cohesive approach to the sustainable advancement of Pacific Tourism.
“As one of the region’s smaller and emerging destinations, this is a significant step for us as it signifies our commitment to the shared vision of a better future for our people, through tourism. The Statement of Commitment obligates us to work together towards re-designing tourism to ensure that it is resilient, prosperous and inclusive”, Hon. Tialetagi-Verge said.
In acknowledging Wallis & Futuna’s support SPTO CEO, Christopher Cocker, acknowledged the importance of regional cooperation for tourism transformation.
“SPTO’s support for recovery efforts are being guided by our regional frameworks such as the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework (PSTPF) and the Pacific Tourism Statistics Strategy (PTSS). The SOC has a mobilizing role to play in encouraging cooperation amongst our membership at the leadership level, to progress sustainable tourism development in the region. It is heartening to now see 15 of our 20 Pacific island members on board and we hope to secure the remaining members endorse the SOC ahead of our Council of Tourism Ministers meeting later on in the year”, he said.