THE Pacific is open for business – that’s the message at the region’s largest tourism industry exhibition.
Hotels, airlines and tour companies have been able to convince foreign buyers at the South Pacific Tourism Exchange that operations are normal and visitors are welcome.
South Pacific Tourism Organisation Acting CEO, Alisi Lutu, said the event at Sea World Resort on Australia’s Gold Coast was already a huge success after less than a day.
“Vanuatu and Fiji which were affected by Cyclones Pam and Winston have had many queries from overseas buyers on the state of infrastructure,” Lutu said.
“And our foreign partners are very happy with the response that we’re open for business as normal and that there are no safety issues.”
The two-day event involves over 60 buyers from Australia, New Zealand, , China, United Kingdom, the United States and various European countries and 140 Pacific sellers.
It is the second SPTE to be held in Australia and buyers have indicated their support for the event.
“We took a strategic position to align SPTE with the Australian Tourism Exchange and our buyers have indicated that this is very convenient for them,” Lutu said.
“By having our event on the back of Australia’s major tourism show we’re also able to take away valuable learning experiences and build our next SPTE.”
At least eight Chinese buyers have been through the SPTE gates to meet Pacific partners and take on information on products and packages available in the Pacific.
Lutu said attendance had increased but the venue was smaller than the Melbourne Convention Centre last year.
“Our buyers have said, however, that this year they can feel the Pacific atmosphere, it’s more intimate – for them it has been like a slice of the Pacific on the Gold Coast.”
Source: Islands Business International and SPTO