For many Pacific Island nations, tourism is the mainstay in their economies so the South Pacific Tourism Exchange in Gold Coast, Australia will serve as an important platform for the enhancement of national economies and for the thousands of Pacific people who rely on the industry for their livelihoods.
South Pacific Tourism Organisation Acting Chief Executive Alisi Lutu said for international buyers and the many sellers from the Pacific, the exchange provides an opportunity for the region to clear the cobwebs on any assumptions and brings both parties living in separate parts of the world, together under one roof.
“We have had many queries about how safe the Pacific is as far as natural disasters are concerned and two of our 16 Pacific Island member nations, Fiji and Vanuatu, which are also two tourism giants in the region, suffered immensely over the last 12 months,” Lutu said.
“However our other Pacific Island nations continue to operate normally and the two nations in question have bounced back healthy numbers as far as tourism arrivals are concerned.
“At the recent Fiji Tourism Exchange in Nadi, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama revealed that for the first quarter of 2016, Fiji received a total of 158,069 visitors representing a 10.2% increase, compared to the same period last year.
“So Fiji’s resolve in the wake of a natural disaster is as strong as the Pacific oceans that connect our region and the SPTO would like to commend their national tourism office and stakeholders for the sterling performance after the monster cyclone TC Winston.”
She said their latest Quarterly 4 report for 2015 revealed that the Pacific ACP and SPTO member countries received an estimated total of 503,060 tourists which was an increase of 3.5 percent compared to the same period in 2014.
“With the completion of the Samoa Tourism Exchange and Fijian Tourism Expo in the past weeks, and with the SPTE set for next week, we anticipate improvements in travel bookings and new deals to our part of the world.
Lutu said preparations were well underway for the Gold Coast event which begins a day after the Australian Tourism Exchange on May 15-19 at the Gold Coast Convention Centre. She said with eight days to go for SPTE, they are anticipating an impressive turnout.
The South Pacific Tourism Exchange will be held at Seaworld Resort Conference Centre in the Gold Coast from May 20-21. Registration opens on May 19 at 2pm.