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Ministers agree to move tourism forward in the region

Tonga Daily News:

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Nuku’alofa-October 30: 7.20pm (TDN):
 South Pacific Tourism Ministers, including Tonga, have agreed to seek partnership with donor agencies and seek equal distribution of funding assistance to member countries of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation at their one-day Tourism Minister’s meeting here in Nuku’alofa earlier today.

This is confirmed in the Communique released at the end of the meeting at the Faonelua Convention Centre.

The Ministers conveyed their gratitude to the Government and people of Tonga for the warm welcome and kind hospitality extended to them since their arrival into Nuku’alofa. The Ministers further acknowledged the impressive efforts by the government of Tonga and its organizing committee in successfully hosting the Board of Directors and Council of Tourism Ministers meetings.

The Ministers acknowledged the SPTO Work Plan and Budget for 2015 and the need for member countries to support SPTO and the important work it undertakes for tourism in the region.

Here is the full Communique:

COMMUNIQUE

Introduction

The twenty fourth Council of Ministers of Tourism meeting was held in Nukualofa, Tonga, on October 30th, 2014, to deliberate on regional priority issues for the sustainable development of tourism in Pacific Island countries.

The meeting elected a new Council Chairman Hon. Dr. Viliami Latu, Minister for Tourism of Tonga and was attended by the Hon. Ham Lini Vanuararoa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism of Vanuatu; Hon. Rimeta Beniamina, Minister for Communications, Transport and Tourism Development of Kiribati; Hon. Thomas Heine, Minister for Transportation and Communications and Acting Minister for Resources and Development  of Marshall islands; and Hon. Lorna Eden, Assistant Minister for Tourism of Fiji.

The other government members were represented by proxies and included American Samoa, China, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

Opening

The meeting was officially opened by the Prime Minister of Tonga, Lord Tu’ivakano, who urged the Council to build strong and durable partnerships with development partners towards enhancing sustainable tourism initiatives in the region.

Acknowledgement

  1. The Ministers conveyed their gratitude to the Government and people of Tonga for the warm welcome and kind hospitality extended to them since their arrival into Nuku’alofa. The Ministers further acknowledged the impressive efforts by the government of Tonga and its organizing committee in successfully hosting the Board of Directors and Council of Tourism Ministers meetings.
  1. The Ministers re-emphasised the importance of tourism for our Pacific Island communities and encouraged member countries to work together at national and regional levels in ensuring the sustainable development of this industry for the longer term benefits of Pacific Island economies.
  1. The Ministers noted with appreciation the written welcoming remarks of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism of Samoa, Honorable Tuilaepa Malielegaoi, which was read by Ms. Sonja Hunter, advocating his support for the important role of the SPTO Board and Council of Ministers in regional tourism marketing and development.
  1. The Ministers record their sincere appreciation for the great work and leadership by the outgoing Chairman of the Council, the Honorable Tuilaepa Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, in leading the Council over the last 12 months.

SPTO Work Plan and Budget 2015

  1. The Ministers acknowledged the SPTO Work Plan and Budget for 2015 and the need for member countries to support SPTO and the important work it undertakes for tourism in the region.
  1. The Ministers approved the 2015 Work Plan and Budget and encouraged the effective management and monitoring of its implementation by the secretariat.

Pacific Tourism Strategy 2015-2019

  1. The Ministers commended the collaborative efforts in the development of the strategy, in particular, the establishment of an agreed Vision for the development of the sector, the objectives, key strategic components and the priority actions to facilitate achievements of the Vision.
  1. The Ministers approved the Pacific Tourism Strategy 2015-2019 which provides a strategic framework to support the development of the tourism sector at a regional level for the next five years (2015 to 2019).

SPTO Advocacy Role – Regional Tourism Issues Update

9. The Ministers commended the advocacy efforts by SPTO and in particular the initiatives for greater collaboration with other regional and international agencies in advancing tourism sector development.

10. The Ministers encouraged that Management continues with advocating for regional tourism with other organisations and development partners. 

SPTO-New Zealand Government Partnership Proposal

11. The Ministers acknowledged with gratitude the preliminary discussions undertaken by SPTO with the government of New Zealand.

12. The Ministers agreed to write to the New Zealand government seeking support for SPTO’s proposed tourism development programmes under the Pacific Tourism Strategy (PTS) 2015-2019.

European Development Fund (EDF 11) Consultations

13. The Ministers acknowledged the update on SPTO’s participation at the EDF 11 regional consultations with the Regional Authorising Officer (RAO), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), and the European Union.

14. The Ministers agreed to write to the RAO, encouraging that development support be adequately provided for tourism in the region under EDF 11.

Cruise Shipping in Pacific Islands Countries

15. The Ministers approved the partnership between SPTO and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Pacific Regional Tourism Capacity Building Programme (PRTCBP)

16. The Ministers acknowledged the work in progress on the implementation of the PRTCBP and acknowledged with appreciation the tremendous support by the European Union for the region’s tourism industry.

Review of the 1999 SPTO Constitution

17. The Ministers approved the amendments to the 1999 SPTO Constitution.

Read story: Tonga Daily News

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