The Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) has announced the cancellation of its premier event – The South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE), which was scheduled for 25th and 26th May in Christchurch, New Zealand.
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Held annually since 2014, SPTE is a valuable platform for engagement between international travel partners and regional tourism sellers and suppliers. In 2019, the event attracted participants from both long and short haul markets including Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, China and the Netherlands.
While announcing the cancellation at a press conference yesterday afternoon, SPTO CEO, Christopher Cocker, emphasized that Pacific tourism’s greatest asset is its people and that was at the forefront of the decision making process.
“This is the first time that we have cancelled the event and in doing so we feel that we are showing leadership and responsibility in a time of uncertainty”.
“Our people are our greatest asset and we must protect them at all costs. We will now realign our resources and efforts to support the post COVID-19 Recovery efforts of our members”.
On that note, the CEO also announced the launch of the Pacific Wave Recovery Fund, which is aimed inspiring, uniting and engaging the Pacific Tourism Family and its stakeholders.
“Tourism is a strong and resilient industry, we will bounce back from this and the purpose of this fund is to support the post COVID-19 efforts our members and stakeholders”, he said.
“We are very grateful to NZ Maori Tourism, a valued partner of SPTO, who have so kindly come forward as the first donors with a generous contribution of NZD$50,000”.
“Now more than ever, we need to come together to overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19. Therefore, I am calling on development partners, donors and the industry’s valued guests and stakeholders to support Pacific Tourism’s recovery efforts via the Pacific Wave Recovery Fund”.
Mr. Cocker said that SPTO would be guided by its member countries and the relevant stakeholders in terms of the exact initiatives to be supported by the fund.