Fiji Time: 1:34 AM on Wednesday 20 September

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Tourism growth

Filipe Naigulevu
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A NEW partnership has been forged to progress areas of mutual interest in the promotion and growth of the Pacific's tourism industry in the Chinese market.

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commission (PITIC) last Friday.

The MOU specifies combining the resource networks and experiences of the two parties and highlights priority areas and joint activities in relation to tourism and private sector development in the region.

Signed between SPTO chief executive officer, Chris Cocker and PITIC Trade Commissioner, David Morris, the partnership stems from the general agreement between the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and SPTO.

It is an undertaking between SPTO and PITIC to work together to promote tourism in China, noting the rapid growth of China as a source of outbound tourists and investors in the tourism industry. 

The partnership includes:

* collaboration on the preparation of a 2018 — 2022 marketing strategy for China-Pacific Islands' tourism market development. 

* collaboration on the preparation of an annual marketing action plan for promotion of China-Pacific Islands tourism in China's Tier 1 and 2 cities. 

* assistance by PITIC to SPTO in planning, co-ordination and representation at marketing events in China.

* collaboration in recruiting Chinese travel agents for the South Pacific Specialist training program and in reporting outcomes quarterly.

* collaboration in supporting tourism investment project proposals, marketing and match-making to identify Chinese investors to support industry development. 

* collaboration in promoting and supporting exchanges between SPTO, national tourism organisations and industry with China, including internships and senior project placements in the

* PITIC office and bringing Chinese interns and senior project placements to SPTO, national tourism organisations and industry in the Pacific. 

* co-operation in capacity building support to SPTO, national tourism organisations and industry including workshops, language and culture programs, China-ready checklists and translation services.

* PITIC will help to identify, advise, develop, promote, implement and manage opportunities to enhance Brand "South Pacific Islands" in China, including media and social media exposure, visiting journalists and bloggers. 

The MOU also outlined equal branding opportunity for both partners in relation to any joint projects.

Mr Cocker, in a statement, said there was an existing overarching MOU between SPTO with the PT&I network.

He however highlighted that the signed MOU was the formalisation of a focused relationship between PT&I China and SPTO to develop the Chinese market.

"The signed MOU marks another major milestone in the relationship between the China tourism market and the Pacific region," Mr Cocker said.

Pacific Trade and Invest trade commissioner David Morris said high spending, independent Chinese travellers were looking for new and unique destinations and PITIC and SPTO can work together to support sustainable tourism development for the Pacific.

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