China Pacific Tourism Year to launch with a bang

China’s Minister of Tourism & Culture, Luo Shugang welcomed in an Ava Ceremony at the Samoa Tourism Authority this morning

Staff Reporters

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 01 APRIL 2019: The China Pacific Tourism Year 2019 is being launched in Apia tonight at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel to conclude with Fireworks across from the Apia waterfront.

Ahead of the launch, the Chinese & Pacific Islands Delegations visited the Robert Louis Stevenson’s Museum and toured the Samoa Cultural Village in Apia.

There were also Business meetings between Local and Pacific Businesses and the visiting Chinese Government & Private Sector representatives.

The launch comes at a critical time when at least 6 hotels in Samoa are up for sale as they cannot meet loan repayments and the Prime Minister has asked local hoteliers to be patient and hope the China Pacific Tourism launch is the opening that could generate the numbers they have been waiting for.

There is also talk of a direct flight to bring in China tourists to Samoa stating in July this year.

According to the Samoa Tourism Authority, Samoa is hosting this regional event together with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO). Samoa is the Chair of SPTO and also the Chair of the Pacific Ministers of Tourism Council.

“The China Pacific Tourism Year 2019 is the platform marketing campaign and marks the beginning of SPTO rolling out the China-Pacific Tourism Development Initiative to assist the Pacific market as well as sustainably developing the Pacific to the Chinese market.”

Minister of Tourism & Culture, Luo Shugang and his delegation observe how some Samoan handicrafts are made at the STA Samoan Village

This initiative came about from SPTO’s attendance at the 2017 High-Level Dialogue on the Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing.

It builds on the work SPTO does which is establishing innovative partnerships and in this case with the China Ministry of Culture & Tourism to promote better understanding of China in the Pacific, strengthen people to people connectivity between Pacific people and the Chinese population, as well as raise the visibility of the Pacific brand in China.

China is the world’s largest source market with an outbound market in 2018 of an estimated 140 million visitors. A total of 125, 073 Chinese visitors visited the Pacific, which makes China the 7th largest tourism source market in the Pacific, accounting for five-point-nine percent (5.9%) of the total visitor market share for the Pacific. Engaging with China augurs well with SPTO’s marketing goal of developing emerging markets outside the Pacific’s main source markets of Australia and New Zealand.

In attendance from China is their Minister for Culture and Tourism and a delegation from China of close to 100 representatives from government, private sector and entertainers.

Visiting Pacific Island delegates range from a Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers, Associate Ministers and CEOs.

Taking a feel of Samoa and what may fit in a coconut leaves woven multipurpose bag

Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region.
Its 20 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna, Rapa Nui and the People’s Republic of China.

In addition to government members, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation has about 200 private sector members.