Vanuatu Palau and Cook islands agree on 2020 sustainable pledge to be asked for by all tourists

Richard Butler | Exclusive By Losirene Lacanivalu of Cook Island News | December 28th, 2019

The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation plans to focus next year on sustainable tourism and expanding the industry’s accreditation scheme.

Chief executive officer Halatoa Fua said the new focus will broaden the scope of the organisation’s destination development efforts, strengthening stakeholder management, planning and policy relating to the tourism sector.

“Our Destination Marketing department will focus on maintaining our competitiveness in the marketplace. Our work in destination marketing will also strengthen and sustain our multi-use content, partnerships, processes, resource centre and brand management,” he said.

The finance department would continue to be the backbone of the Corporation, and had achieved an unmodified auditor’s report with zero management issues to date, he added.

Fua who recently attended the Sustainable Islands Tourism Conference in Vanuatu, said the event focused on the sustainability of tourism development, showcasing traditional knowledge, culture, island sustainability solutions and strategies to support local participation in tourism.

Vanuatu Palau and Cook islands agree on 2020 sustainable pledge to be asked for by all tourists

Cook Islands Tourism was invited by Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister as one of the keynote contributors to the conference and the trip was funded by Vanuatu and the New Zealand Government.

The Cook Islands, Vanuatu and Palau were the only tourism government departments present at the conference and they signed a “statement of intent” to strengthen the collaboration between the three their tourism departments.

Fua said the alliance would help them form enduring partnerships as well as assisting in resource sharing, and the promotion and marketing of sustainable tourism.

“Each country has its strength in either tourism regulation, policy-setting, their ban on plastics or promoting sustainable tourism through a visitor pledge or promise.”

He saw the alliance as a platform for cooperation and “people-to-people” connections to address sustainable tourism which was critical for the environmental, social and economic trajectory of all three countries.

“It is in our respective countries’ interest that we, in our capacity as tourism stewards, commit to this strategic intent,” Fua said.

“It is incumbent on us that we protect our pristine environment, conserve our large ocean states and combat the consequences of climate change on the most vulnerable region in the world.”