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Change in focus

Filipe Naigulevu
Friday, November 10, 2017

WITH the international focus now on climate change, tourism stakeholders in Fiji and the South Pacific are paving the way towards a more sustainable industry.

In "walking the talk", the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA) have formalised a strengthened partnership to develop tourism and private sector growth in Fiji through identified strategic areas.

The partnership between the two organisations was forged yesterday which will see strategic areas such as sustainable tourism replicated in the Pacific region.

SPTO chief executive officer Christopher Cocker said the partnership would also focus on their four divisions which include sustainable tourism, research and statistics, marketing and human resources development training.

"In this case, the Fiji Hotels and Tourism Association is very important as well as a private sector entity because they are the workers," he said.

"We regional organisations and the governments are only facilitators but these are the people that do the work."

Stemming out from this partnership, Mr Cocker said they would be collaborating with Fiji's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and FHTA in conducting sustainable monitoring workshops.

This, he said, would be conducted in Nadi and Suva in the first week of December.

"It's a collaboration of partners to focus on about 50 private sector accommodation providers in Fiji," Mr Cocker said.

"That is to actually train them to collect data on measuring sustainable tourism and also increasing its awareness because it's such an embryonic area."

FHTA chairman Dixon Seeto said the partnership marked their renewed co-operation with SPTO in making sure that the industry went forward sustainably both regionally and locally.

"We used to work very closely with SPTO but things cooled off. We have resumed this co-operation as tourism is an important industry for Fiji and the Pacific," Mr Seeto said.

"This agreement is a stepping stone to getting to know what the individual organisations do and also mainly in the areas of co-operation and information sharing.

"In our role, we look after the development of the tourism industry in Fiji. But now that we are linking ourselves closer with the SPTO, like the saying goes, 'no man is an island', and I think as we develop the South Pacific tourism markets, any draws from the markets, both emerging and existing markets can benefit all member countries and we are all going to get a slice of that pie.

"And the bigger that pie is, the bigger the share is for individual Pacific countries."

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