A majority of participants expressed their gratification with the two-day event and their commitment to participation in the next SPTE.
A majority of the participants had established new networks, clients and contacts at the event and had gained new information, with a number of buyers securing actual bookings, contracts and package deals.
“From the feedback we can say that the participants are satisfied with the quality of the buyers that have come through this year’s event and we already have a sense of how SPTE 2017 has added value to our participants from the feedback we have received,” SPTO Chief Executive Officer, Chris Cocker said.
“The valuable feedback will help us improve future SPTE events to ensure that it remains the premier regional tourism event for the Pacific,” he added. “Where we need to improve is by finding new markets, particularly long haul markets such as Asia.”
Mr Cocker encouraged the partners and stakeholders to maximize on the opportunity provided by SPTE 2017 to further business aspirations in the South Pacific.
“Our buyers are here because they see business opportunities in our South Pacific islands and because our destinations boast of unique tourism products that only our region can offer,” Mr. Cocker said.
“Our sellers are here because they know that our destinations, their tourism products have the potential to attract growing visitor numbers that will translate into earnings that will contribute to improved livelihoods for families and communities.”
Mr Cocker highlighted the importance of the focus on ensuring the tourism industry remains sustainable for the future in line with the global focus on 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for development.
“We all have a vested interest in Pacific tourism and we all want our industry to be here today and here to stay.”
Participants at the event were treated to a special visual tour of the uniqueness of the Solomon Islands by the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau, who proudly shared that they had just been voted the country with the cleanest air in the world by the World Health Organisation.
The Vanuatu Tourism Office took the prize for the best booth at the exchange.
Representatives from the Vanuatu Tourism Office highlighted new business opportunities they secured through SPTE 2017, which also provided an opportunity to strengthen existing relationships.
“Overall, it has been of very good quality and have given us an opportunity to build on our networks,” said VTO General Manager, Adela Issachar Aru.
“There has been a lot of interest from the Asian market and we need to make sure that we are prepared on the ground so there are no language barriers when visitors from the Asian countries come and visit.”
Mrs Aru also spoke of the need to be providing the right information on the diversity of the destination to buyers interested in Vanuatu. “Our operators who are here are excited because they can see how SPTE 2017 is different from last year, with a lot more confidence in the destination itself.”
The event focused on ensuring the tourism industry remains sustainable for the future in line with the global focus on 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for development.
A total of 111 sellers from 17 member countries of SPTO were present at the event to brief 79 buyers from as far away as Europe, United States of America, Canada, China, South Korea and Australia and New Zealand on the tourism products of the South Pacific.
SPTE is the largest regional tourism event for the Pacific region and is the umbrella that brings partners together, because of the passion for the Pacific Islands and towards tourism as the catalyst for positive sustainable development.
Support for the event has come from major sponsor Bank South Pacific who has partnered with SPTO since 2016. Other Pacific partners supporting the event are the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau, Nauru Airlines, Papua New Guinea Tourism and Promotions Authority (PNGTPA) and Fiji Airways.