Focus on sustainable tourism

South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) administration officer Fane Dinono, left, receives her award for being the overall winner of the "Be the Change" challenge from SPTO chief executive officer Chris Cocker. Picture: SUPPLIED

South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) administration officer Fane Dinono, left, receives her award for being the overall winner of the "Be the Change" challenge from SPTO chief executive officer Chris Cocker. Picture: SUPPLIED

WITH an emphasis on sustainable tourism, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) recently concluded a three-month campaign – “Be the Change” challenge sharing the message of sustainability through social media.

Over the months of September to December 2017, staff members of the regional organisation based in Suva were mandated to market and develop tourism in the Pacific.

As part of the challenge, SPTO staff members were required to upload posts on their personal social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, with messages on the theme “Sustainable tourism as a tool for development to benefit the Pacific”.

SPTO’s internal green committee had developed a criteria to rate the quality of posts by SPTO staff members, which included the highest number of posts, likes, shares, comments, reposts/retweets, the quality in terms of accuracy and relevance, coverage of sustainability pillars (economic, environmental and socio-cultural) and the selection and range of images used.

Staff members uploaded posts that highlighted culture tourism, food tourism, heritage tourism, agri-tourism, marine tourism and private sector development across SPTO’s member countries.

According to SPTO chief executive officer Christopher Cocker, such campaigns were part of SPTO’s strategy to develop the knowledge of its staff members in key areas relating to their work program.

“Sustainable tourism development is an important area of SPTO’s work program and it is encouraging to see the high interest of staff in this space as we all play a key role in sharing the message of sustainability,” he said in a statement.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of knowledge on sustainable tourism matters and its importance, particularly amongst our admin staff who are usually in the office and whose jobs do not require attendance at meetings where these matters would be discussed.

“Our Green Committee was also fortunate to have some great prizes for the campaign and I thank the sponsors, Leleuvia Island Resort and U-Sabai Thai Massage and Spa for coming forward to reward staff efforts and initiative in this area.”

The overall winner of the “Be the Change” challenge was SPTO’s administration officer Fane Dinono, whose seven posts generated 182 Likes and attracted a good number of comments.

“This is a pleasant surprise for me as I really wasn’t expecting this,” Ms Dinono said.

“Sustainable tourism is a concept that I don’t come across very often as my daily work is more admin-related so my rookie posts were really to share the message of what I understood sustainable tourism to be and also just sharing the importance of preserving our environment.”

SPTO’s receptionist Mabel Velia won the prize for the winning post which highlighted the role of marine protected areas and the importance of protecting and preserving our marine life.

Other staff members were also awarded commendation and consolation prizes as well as a reward for their participation and importantly the initiative to share the important message of environment protection, conservation, preservation and the sustainability of the Pacific’s tourism industry.

Mr Cocker however stressed that this initiative would continue to be a part of SPTO’s internal capacity building going forward.

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