Pacific attends UNWTO Regional Seminar
The Pacific attends UNWTO Regional Seminar on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism Development
3 July 2018, Suva, FIJI – Pacific delegates from SPTO member countries of Fiji, New Caledonia, PNG, Samoa, Timor Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, China and SPTO attended the UNWTO Regional Seminar on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism Development and the 30th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for Asia (30th CAP-CSA) in Nadi, Fiji.
The Regional Seminar provided an opportunity for tourism destination organisations and tourism businesses to discuss the impacts of climate change for tourism development, especially in protected and coastal areas in Asia and the Pacific and to raise the awareness of the important relationship between biodiversity protection and sustainable tourism development.
“SPTO’s advocacy for sustainable tourism amongst our members is key to safeguarding our culture and its people but most importantly protecting our islands, ocean and environment which is what we’re selling globally. This seminar was instrumental in exchanging information and experiences on applying sustainability principles and policy instruments for sustainable tourism development related to climate change and biodiversity protection” said SPTO Chief Executive Officer, Chris Cocker.
Also discussed at the seminar was recommendations on strengthening governance and management mechanisms to ensure that tourism serves as a positive force, minimizing environmental impact, helping to conserve biodiversity and contributing to the well being of local communities.
SPTO CEO, Chris Cocker also joined the High Level Dialogue as a panellist on the theme – ‘How to address the issue of climate change in tourism development.’
At the 30th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for Asia (30th CAP-CSA) discussions focused on development of tourism in the Asia-Pacific region and how it’s constrained by the increasing threats of climate change which coupled with human activities are putting pressure on the natural environment and biodiversity upon which tourism depends.
“While Pacific island countries are working towards addressing climate change impacts, the meeting called for concerted efforts from the tourism sector to transition to sustainability forms of development in order to ensure that tourism brings economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits to our people” said Mr Cocker.
Delegations were also invited to take part in a technical tour of some key tourism sites in Fiji on the last day. For the Pacific, strengthening awareness and education at community level and amongst all stakeholders is key to ensuring the pathway to achieving national priorities and the SDGs.
The meetings were co-organised by UNWTO and the Government of Fiji through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and attended by UNWTO member states, affiliate members, partners, and industry stakeholders from the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Cocker congratulated the Government of Fiji especially the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism on an exemplary job on hosting the meeting and also thanked the UNWTO for the invitation and including SPTO in the CAP-CSA meeting.
Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region. Its 18 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia,
Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the People’s Republic of China. In addition to government members, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation enlists a private sector membership base.