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A total of 30 delegates representing public and private sector from South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) member countries met today at a Regional Tourism Strategy Stakeholder Consultation Workshop at the Samoa Conventional Centre in Apia.
The workshop focused on deliberations from participants and consultants to formulate a framework for a Pacific Regional Tourism Strategy for 2014 to 2018.
While opening the workshop SPTO Chairlady, Matatamalii Sonja Hunter said tourism has grown to become the most important industry in the Island countries, with visitor arrivals growing by 50% over the last 10 years, from approximately 1 million in 2002 to over 1.5 million in 2012.
“Whilst we are happy with this remarkable increase, we also recognise the untapped possibilities of tourism in the Pacific region which still has significant potential for expansion and sustainable growth,” she said.
She said to facilitate and take advantage of these possibilities; tourism authorities across the region should work more collaboratively and, in coordination with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation, develop modalities to tackle agreed issues and constraints at regional level – that is, through a Pacific Regional Tourism Strategy.
The draft framework for the Regional Tourism Strategy will be presented to the SPTO Board of Directors and Council of Tourism Ministers for endorsement on Thursday October 18 Friday 19.
This project will be carried out within the framework of the Pacific Regional Tourism Capacity Building Programme (PRTCBP), which is funded by the European Union under the 10th EDF and implemented by the SPTO.
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