Today, Pacific Island Countries (PICs) participated in the final consultations for the draft Pacific Cruise Tourism Development Strategy (PCTDS) 2015-2019 at the Le Meridien resort in Papeete, Tahiti.
The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) through this stakeholder meeting will finalise feedback on the draft PCTDS before presenting the strategy to the SPTO Board of Directors for endorsement. The meeting is a prelude to a series of SPTO meetings, including the Regional Tourism Marketing meeting which will be held later today, the SPTO Board of Directors meeting and the 25th Council of Tourism Ministers meeting which will be held on the 14th and 15th of October, respectively.
The draft strategy is the product of a framework that was proposed during the Pacific Cruise Development Forum held in Melbourne in June this year, which examined and evaluated key elements pertaining to the development of cruise ship tourism.
The PCTDS is produced within the framework of the European Union supported Pacific Regional Tourism Capacity Building Programme (PRTCBP), which is implemented by the SPTO.
According to SPTO Chief Executive, Ilisoni Vuidreketi, the SPTO Board of Directors meeting and the 25th Council of Tourism Ministers meeting, provides the best opportunity to gauge feedback from the regional tourism stakeholders on the draft strategy.
“Our regional stakeholders have been consulted on the PCTDS from the onset, as this strategy is to assist our member countries develop their own cruise tourism strategies,” he said.
“These consultations engaged stakeholders in discussions on the best options to adopt in the strategy, keeping in mind the various action steps proposed to put each element into effect.”
“Cruise tourism is on the cusp of major growth in our region and these consultations are imperative to assist our member countries to take full advantage of this booming cruise sector,” he said.
Feedback from member countries attending the consultation has been positive.
Linda Kalpoi, General Manager of the Vanuatu Tourism Office said, “the PCTDS is very useful especially for the smaller members of SPTO who are finding their way in cruise tourism.”
“Vanuatu has steamed ahead already and we are here to support member countries to develop their cruise tourism”, she added.
Vanuatu is one of the leading nations in cruise tourism in the Pacific region, while Tonga on the other hand is still at the development stage of cruise tourism.
Owen Pau’u, the acting General Manager of Tonga Tourism Authority said, “This strategy is very good for us in Tonga to help us develop our cruise ship market. Looking at all the issues we are currently facing at the moment and looking at the wider issues we are hoping to develop a local strategy for Tonga.”
The draft Pacific Cruise Tourism Development Strategy (PCTDS) 2015-2019 will be presented to the SPTO Board of Directors meeting on 14th October.