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Fiji Time: 12:56 AM on Thursday 24 April

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Boost for South Pacific tourism

Repeka Nasiko
Tuesday, February 05, 2013

A contract signed between the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and World Hotel Links (WHL) Group aims to ensure at least 100 accommodations in 11 countries set up with e-commerce enabled websites.

The step considered an important step in boosting the online sales capabilities of small and medium accommodation providers across the South Pacific was funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund.

SPTO chief executive officer, Ilisoni Vuidreketi said about 80 per cent of all accommodation providers in the Pacific region were locally owned small and medium enterprise (SME) operators.

"It is extremely important they keep to the ever and growing development in information technology and the internet. We see a large and growing gap in this area when compared with competing regions and this project is intended to address this," said Mr Vuidreketi.

He said for SME accommodation businesses, having a good website with great information was no longer the perfect model.

"But such a website must have an online booking system. The booking system would maximise SME's online exposure and real time connection with consumers towards direct conversions."

World Hotel-link.com Pty Limited, a subsidiary of WHL Group has been tasked with running the project.

In a statement, Company CEO, Len Cordiner said their work all over the world had shown them the importance for SMEs to master online sales and distribution.

"This SPTO initiative in concert with their new regional web site and e-marketing focus is a huge step toward ensuring the Pacific region not fall behind," said Mr Cordiner.

"The project will greatly strengthen online marketing at both private sector enterprise level and government National Tourism Organisation (NTO) level."