Regional tourism outfits work to boost visitor numbers


Tourism ministers of the Pacific Island Forum countries have agreed on a multi pronged approach on boosting the tourism industry around the region, where tourism is the biggest revenue earner for most countries. <!--more-->Among the approaches is to tap funding from donor agencies for a number of initiatives including capacity building.

The ministers gathered in Nuku’alofa, Tonga for the 24th Council of Ministers of Tourism meeting earlier this month. In a statement, South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) CEO Ilisoni Vuidreketi said, “There is the need to take advantage of our development partners like the European Union to ensure we gain maximum benefit from their Pacific regional tourism capacity building programme.”

Tourism ministers acknowledged the preliminary discussions undertaken by SPTO with the government of New Zealand and decided to follow up with the New Zealand Government for continued support for SPTO’s proposed tourism development programs under the Pacific Tourism Strategy (PTS) 2015-2019.

At the meeting, the ministers also approved the SPTO 2015 work plan and budget and encouraged the effective management and monitoring of its implementation by the secretariat.

The SPTO CEO also acknowledged the strong partnership of private sector enterprises in the progress on online bookings and said they should benefit from Tonga’s latest information technology developments, with access to fast internet through broadband.