Inclusive Pacific – Summit calls on regional leaders to work together

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SPTO chairman Petero Manufolau (far right) with panelists at the Sustainable Tourism Leaders Summit (PSTLS). Picture: SUPPLIED

The Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) hosted its Sustainable Tourism Leaders Summit (PSTLS) under the theme of ‘Partnering for a resilient, prosperous, and inclusive Pacific through sustainable tourism’.

Convened at the Edgewater Resort & Spa in the Cook Islands, the one-day summit was attended by various stakeholders and partners.

In his welcoming remarks, Cook Islands Associate Minister of Tourism Tingika Elikana reflected on the theme and noted its importance for tourism leadership in the region and urged high-level co-operation to ensure that we rebuild an industry that is more resilient, inclusive, equitable and sustainable.

“Tourism has been shaken to its core due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have found ourselves at ground zero.

By standing in solidarity, the Pacific can steer our Vaka in the right direction,” Mr Elikana said.

In acknowledging the importance of the PSTLS, SPTO chairman Petero Manufolau highlighted the rationale behind the summit, which was to reinvigorate the annual convening of the Council of Tourism Ministers so as to strengthen high-level engagement and to create a much stronger purpose.

Mr Manufolau further noted that this was underpinned by the long-term vision of transforming SPTO into a global leader in sustainable tourism, so as to uplift the consolidated quality assurance of the region and promote a sustainable tourism sector.

Mr Manufolau acknowledged the leadership of the 11 SPTO Member Countries including Kiribati who have already signed the Sustainable Tourism Statement of Commitment and noted that they would be joined by Cook Islands and American Samoa over the course of the summit.

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