SPTO focuses on digitizing Pacific Islands’ tourism industry

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Tourism Solomon
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BY BEN BILUA
Gizo

PACIFIC tourism body, the South Pacific Tourism Association (SPTO) is looking at digitizing Pacific tourism industry for efficient and effective services during the pandemic.

SPTO Boss, Chris Cocker said the organisation has done quite a lot of work in the last two years preparing for recovery – one of which is to see how best services can be delivered in a much safer and reliable system.

He said Pacific Digitalization Transformation project – a four-year project funded by New Zealand (MFAT) is currently in face-two earmarked to end in 2025.

Cocker adds that SPTO has set up a partnership with UNSIDS targeting different organisations like the Caribbean Indian Tourism Organisation, Indian Ocean, ASEAN Travel Association and MasterCard International.

He said the partnership focuses very much on the recovery approach which is supported by UNSIDS.

“I think from SPTO’s perspective, we would like to reset through digital transformation and also rethinking through innovative collaboration regionally or globally and finally rebuilding through responsible sustainable tourism recovery,” Cocker said.

He said two key programs that SPTO is currently rolling out are the MFAT-DFAT-ADB (with) Funding (from) the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) and that is to help member countries recover and they work on a country basis in close collaboration with SPTO.

Cocker said PSDI has been running for the past years and in its fourth final phase, however negotiations with ADB have been successful with focus on tourism sector specifically because of the impact.

“That’s probably just a fair idea in terms of recovery in the Pacific and what we are doing. So other areas in training and also working with collaborator like-minded partners,” he said.


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