By Pauline Mago-King
The Pacific is home to a kaleidoscope of rich ecosystems ranging from emerald-green forests to cerulean waters embraced by white, sandy beaches. As our environments continue to draw tourists, we need to be more proactive in safeguarding it. The South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO) realizes this and so in light of 2017 being the International Year of Sustainable Tourism, it has launched the Sustainable Tourism Challenge.
The side note on SPTO is that it was established in 1983 to represent tourism within the region. It has 18 government members including American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea, to name a few.
With tourism opening the region to the rest of the world, SPTO has been working with its member countries to ensure that:
- Our tourism businesses are viable
- Our environment is protected and
- Our culture is intact
And what better way to raise awareness on ecotourism than through photography. The campaign includes the following:
- Take a picture of a Pacific islander working in the tourism industry or those who have been affected directly by tourism.
- Tell SPTO why they are special to you.
- Share on any social media using the hashtags #SouthPacificIslands #TravelEnjoyRespect.
- Finally, tag friends/family and ask them to do the same.
The bonus of this challenge is that one lucky person could go in the draw to win themselves a trip to Fiji.
The Sustainable Tourism Challenge pushes us to be accountable so that our resources are preserved for future generations. Wantoks such as Miss Pacific Islands, Ann Dunn, remind us of this significance whereby tourism brings varying ways of life from beyond the Pacific.
“It is our people who make the difference and give our islands its heart and soul. As we extend the hand of friendship to our visitors to come to our shores and enjoy our way of life, we are seeing the impact it has on our communities as well as the welfare of our people. Our responsibility is to protect and preserve this way of life in the uniqueness of who we are for generations to come,” said Miss Pacific Islands.
SPTO’s marketing manager Alisi Lutu said that it was great to see Dunn representing the campaign.
“[Miss Pacific Islands] represents the choice of the Pacific people so she is the perfect advocate for the protection of Pacific environments, people and culture,” said Alisi Lutu, SPTO’s marketing manager.
Lutu added that the Sustainable Tourism Challenge inspires individuals to strive for the best when it comes to the protection of our land, resources and people.
“We believe that if each of us does our best to take care of our environment, our culture and our people, we can build a strong movement of people who will ensure the sustainability of our environment.”
You can join the movement today by participating in the Sustainable Tourism Campaign.
For more information, visit SPTO on Facebook or contact:
Alisi Lutu, Marketing Manager
South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO)
Email: email@example.com or +679 3304177