The South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO) is putting the spotlight on 'sustainable tourism' at its premier trade event South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) in Sydney in May.
SPTO Chief Executive Officer Chris Cocker today officially launched the BSP sponsored South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE 2017) with the theme, 'Our Islands are Yours to #TravelEnjoyRespect'.
The theme combines SPTO's new brand slogan 'Ours is Yours' with the key message of the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development, which is 'responsible travel'.
"SPTE 2017 provides the ideal platform to celebrate the International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development and create greater awareness of the need for sustainable tourism practices that look after our environment, people and unique cultures," said Cocker. "This is the South Pacific's unique selling point and we need to use our resources wisely both for current and future generations," he added.
"The best way to innovate is to collaborate and so SPTE represents exactly that for SPTO, as a means of private and public sector collaboration with our national tourism offices, private sector and corporate partners," he emphasized.
This is the second in a three-year partnership with BSP to host the SPTE and effectively bring together tourism operators from 16 Pacific Island Countries and international travel wholesalers and agencies under one roof.
"We respect and commend the SPTO on its early efforts to drive sustainable practices in one of the worlds' fastest growing emerging tourism markets - the Pacific," said BSP Head of Marketing Nirdesh Singh. "There is always good prospects for the future when we work today to establish good habits."
As part of its "Go Green" commitment to the environment, BSP supports organisations and initiatives that foster an understanding of environmental issues and provide practical support to building sustainable communities.
This year's SPTE event will take place over two days of scheduled business appointments at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Sydney, Australia from May 19 to 20, immediately after the Australian Tourism Exchange, which is being held in the same venue.
Now in its fourth year, SPTE is growing in both size and reputation - attracting more sellers and buyers year on year. The event is targeting over 90 sellers from the region; an increase from 57 at the first SPTE 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand.
This year, a target of over 80 wholesale buyers from Australia, New Zealand, North America, China, rest of Asia, Europe and United Kingdom are expected to be in attendance. This is an increase from 50 at SPTE 2014.
"Tourism is currently the only sector in the South Pacific that is showing positive growth," added Cocker. According to the World Bank, annual tourism visitor arrivals to South Pacific Islands will grow from the current two million visitors to three million by 2040, contributing some US$4.4b to the regional economy and creating 127,000 new jobs.
"We are proud of our association with SPTO through the SPTE and as a regional bank, we are well positioned to assist member island countries in any area of finance including foreign exchange services which is critical for local and regional operators to effectively probe into global markets," added Singh. "We are ready to support growth."
Based in Suva, SPTO works to market and develop tourism in 16 Pacific Island Countries and Timor Leste.