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Regional challenges

Monika Singh
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

ISSUES that are critical to the future of the region's tourism industry were highlighted at a recent event that took place in Tokyo, Japan.

South Pacific Tourism Organisation's chief executive officer Christopher Cocker spoke on the challenges faced by the Pacific region.

A statement from SPTO said Mr Cocker discussed issues relevant to the continuing marketing and promotion of Pacific destinations, given the resumption of direct flights to Japan.

"I am happy with the discussions held with the contacts I have established during my recent trip to Tokyo, particularly with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. The foundation has done some wonderful work in the North Pacific, in the area of eco-tourism through its Pacific Islands Fund which is very inspiring and encouraging. I am hopeful that we will be able to find development opportunities for the South Pacific."

Mr Cocker said he highlighted the challenges faced by the region, particularly economic development and sustainable tourism development which continued to be major constraints that needed to be resolved, if the island nations were to have a sustainable tourism industry.

Meanwhile Mr Cocker also highlighted SPTO's initiatives and programs for the year targeting the Japanese market during his meeting with Pacific ambassadors.

He spoke on the regional tourism industry and provided an update on the Pacific's performance, annual visitor arrivals recorded, forecasts by the UN World Tourism Organisation, SPTO's initiatives in sustainable tourism development, regional tourism challenges and constraints, among other important topics.

Mr Cocker was at the four-day visit to Tokyo, Japan to attend the Sasakawa Peace Foundation's Cutting Edge Symposium in preparation for the 8th Japan-Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) to be held later this year.

His visit was part of the regional organisation's advocacy role on behalf of its 17 Pacific Island member countries, inclusive of island states in the North Pacific.

It also provided an opportunity for SPTO to explore areas of collaboration with the Foundation and also dialogue with key decision-makers in Japan's tourism sector, such as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Trade and Tourism.

The symposium was also attended by representatives of the Embassies of the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga. The Secretariat of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and the Pacific Power Association (PPA) also attended the symposium.

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