THE South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is creating greater awareness of tourism in the South Pacific Islands region across Europe, through a series of marketing events over the next two months.
Meet the Pacific is a series of one-day business-to-business meetings that’s held across five European cities, namely Barcelona, Milan, Prague, Zurich and Manchester from 22 February to 6 March.
It creates the opportune platform for Pacific tourism suppliers to meet with key European tour operators (buyers) who are committed to or interested in selling the South Pacific as a destination to their clients.
“Meet The Pacific is a great way for South Pacific tourism bodies and operators to meet with key industry buyers in Europe in a short period of time, and maximize their resources with maximum impact for their particular destinations, product and service offerings,” said SPTO Marketing Manager Alisi Lutu.
Now in its third year, the event is organised by Rosie Holidays (Fiji) and Turama Pacific (Cook Islands) and supported by SPTO.
On 25 February, SPTO will also participate in a consumer tourism event called Visit Pacific in Malmo, Sweden.
Visit Pacific organiser Tour Pacific, a Swedish-based South Pacific Travel Specialist, has confirmed 33 exhibiting companies including airlines, cruise operators, tourism offices and hotels from the South Pacific Islands region with tourism representatives from Fiji, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tahiti and Vanuatu expected to attend.
SPTO’s presence at Visit Pacific will help ensure that the region’s smaller Pacific Island destinations get a voice at this key event.
These events lead up to South Pacific Islands’ participation in ITB Berlin (or Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin in full), the world’s largest consumer and travel trade show in Europe from 8 to 12 March along with national tourism offices and private sector (airlines, resorts, tour operators) from Fiji, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu.
The annual event attracts thousands of participants and experts mainly from the European travel and tourism industry, as well as globally.
Participants at ITB range from all sectors of the tourism and travel industry including travel agents, wholesalers, tour operators, hotels, airlines, media, government representatives and other travel related companies.
SPTO will use the ITB platform to promote the new South Pacific Islands brand identity, launched in October 2016 into the wider European market, which is highly diverse and remains one of the key consistent markets in the world today.
Total visitor arrivals from Europe to the Pacific Islands region have fluctuated from 177,828 visitors in 2011 to 173,278 visitors in 2015. A decrease of 172,824 visitors is estimated for 2016, which may be largely attributed to impacts of Brexit. The forecast for 2017 is 173,222 visitors.
Participation at Meet the Pacific, Visit the Pacific and ITB 2017 allows Pacific Island countries to invigorate key networks; re-establish contracts; enter new markets by creating business opportunities through sales leads and introduce new products and services to the European travel market.
Europe is the 3rd largest tourist source market, representing about 10% of all visitor arrivals to the Pacific Islands region; following Australia and New Zealand holding steadfast, a combined 50% market share. “It is important for the sustainability of Pacific tourism that we are maintaining marketing and promotional presence and engaging productive partnerships with European travel partners on selling our Pacific Island destinations. This will help encourage the needed growth of visitor traffic and yields out of these long haul markets into our Pacific island economies,” said SPTO Marketing Manager Alisi Lutu.
SPTO will also promote its online South Pacific Specialist programme to train European travel agents on how to best market and sell the South Pacific to their clients.
Based in Suva, SPTO works with 16 Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste to market and develop tourism in the South Pacific region.