SOUTH PACIFIC TOURISM UPDATE

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ISSUE NO. 21 – 26th May 2000

INTERNATIONAL UPDATE

TUI Group & Thomson Travel to become World’s Largest Tourism Group

The offer of 1.8 Billion Pounds (DM 5.9 million) made by the Preussag AG, the father company of TUI Group (largest tour company in Europe) for Thomson Travel (4th largest in Europe) has been accepted by the main shareholders and board directors of Thomson Travel. Once the details of the merger have been concluded this will form the largest tourism group in Europe and the world respectively. With the purchase of Thomson TUI is able to gain strategic access to the Scandinavian market where Thomson is current market leader. This offer represented the end of a price battle for Thomson between TUI and C & Touristik Germany (3rd largest in Europe). Tourism interests such as the Rewe AG (Dertour/ITS Travel) and C &N (Condor Neckerman AG) have questioned whether the eventual purchase price of Thomson for 180 pence per share was financially viable. Dietmar Kastner, Managing Director of Rewe is quoted as saying, "In this case it was merely a question of power which for me is no longer financially justifiable". [Source Berliner Zeitung 16th May 2000]

Philippine Airlines Back in Flight

Philippine Airlines will reinstate its thrice-weekly direct flights from Manilla to Sydney on 2 June 2000. To mark the launch the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) in conjunction with Philippine Airlines will organise a trade and press familiarisation to showcase the best of Sydney and Queensland. In 1999, Australia hosted more than 40, 000 Philippine visitors, up 13.8% from the previous year. [Source Insider Bulletin May 2000]

REGIONAL

Fiji

In view of the current situation in Fiji, we are reporting Fiji information in a separate section at the end of this Update.

Major Changes in NZ Outbound Travel Industry

New Zealand outbound travel industry is undergoing a major rationalisation with mergers involving five of the top wholesale companies. In the latest deal, Australian based Pacific International has bought three NZ wholesalers Aspac, Go Holidays and Travel Arrangements. While the group says all companies will continue to operate as separate entities, some rationalisation says all companies will continue to operate as separate entities, some rationalisation of operations and marketing programs seems inevitable. Earlier this year, market leader Gullivers Pacific grabbed a 50% stake in Passport Untied and the two companies have since merged their product buying and technology development. Industry observers believe the mergers will also lead to rationalisation among the allied retail distribution. [Source Insider Bulletin May 2000]

Tourist Refund Scheme to be run by the Australian Custom Service

From 1 July 2000 international travellers can claim back the goods and services tax (GST) and wine equalisation tax (WET) they have paid on goods bought in Australia that they are taking with them when they leave. The money can be claimed back at international airports and seaports under the new Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS), subject to conditions such as a $AUD 300 minimum purchase from one store. Details on the TRS are available on http://www.customs.gov.au under the Customs Tax Reform heading. [Source ATC Australia 2000 Industry Bulletin # 8 – May 2000]

SPTO MEMBER UPDATE

World Travel Market 2000

The World Travel Market (WTM) 2000 will be held from the 13-16 November at the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, London. This is the 21st year of WTM. WTM 2000 will have a dynamic new focus on e-travel and digital television, to assist exhibitors and visitors address the radical and far reaching technological developments that are impacting the industry, and will look at how best to adapt to this fast moving and revolutionary commercial environment. For further information and registration please contact Allyson Makutu at SPTO Suva on fax (679) 301 995 or e-mail allyson_m@spto.org.

EDIT Programme 2000

The Executive Development Institute for Tourism (EDIT) will be held at the School of Travel Industry Management University of Hawaii at Manoa. The programme is for three weeks and commences on June 12. There will be a total of 22 participants attending and from those attending from the region are: Virginia Samuela (Tourism Manager, American Samoa Government), Karla Eggleton (Marketing Services Manager – North America and Europe, Cook Islands Tourism Corporation), Marcel Tua (General Manager, Island Hopper Vacations Ltd, Cook Islands) and Jim Yomapisi (Manager Research and Statistics PNG Tourism Promotion Authority). [Source School of Travel Industry Management University of Hawaii, May 2000]

MISCELLANEOUS

What’s New in Pacific Asia

Each month, the PATA Communications Department publishes "What’s New in Pacific Asia" – a compendium press release of members’ news and packages. This release is distributed to hundreds of journalists around the world by e-mail and post, and is also published on their website at www.pata.org. This service is exclusively for PATA member companies. To participate, all you need to do is to send your press releases and news announcements to What’s New in Pacific Asia on e-mail communications@pata.th.com or on fax (662) 658 2010. [Source PATA Operational Headquarters April 2000]

Shipping Agent

Surato Tamaso Tours is now a shipping agent and port agent for cruise liners in Vanuatu. They now have Surata Tamaso Travel Ltd, Tamaso Aliat Wi Tours and Tamaso Aliat Wi Shipping under one office. For further information, please contact Barry Kalmet on e-mail tamaso-tours@vanuatu.com.vu. [Source Surata Tamaso Tours 16th May 2000]

Green Travel Directory

The Green Travel Directory is a directory of links, arranged by continent, to a number of green sites around the world. It includes links to general ecotravel sites such as UNESCO World Heritage List, the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Directory, and Agritourism Online. There is also a link to Green Travel’s World Ecotourism Directory - a list of ecotourist initiatives around the world. The directory does not list every ecotourist venture, but it does give a preview of some initiatives in each country and, in some cases, useful links to relevant organisations like government ecotourism bodies. Chech out their site at www.green-travel.com [Source Travel Weekly March 2000]

Responsible Tourism: Is it an Oxymoron?

Though it sounds good in theory, the concept of responsible tourism is only practical when visitor numbers are small and manageable. These days, responsibility is the first cousin of sustainability and the first casualty of the pursuit of growth. Those who are mature enough to stretch out the sustainability of their destinations invariably show a much more responsible attitude towards it.

‘Responsibility’ also means different things to different people, many of whom are more than willing to tweak the definition to the limits of their imagination, finding every excuse in the book to justify their actions. The demonstration of such ‘responsibility’ is also not the exclusive domain of any one party, but all of them, including the buyer, seller and customer.

Tourism usually beings in a small and responsible way to ‘unspoiled’ destinations and then grows into popularity. Then, the roads and airports go in, numbers rise and quantity begins to affect quality. Soon visitors begin to find other places. As competition rises, responsibility is the first thing to be ejected.

Much depends on the way resorts are planned and, more importantly, the way those plans are enforced both by local authorities and local private sector trade associations. While most developers and tour operators generally adhere to responsible tourism concepts, they invariably suffer at the hands of those who are not. Policing of policies has never been a strong point in many countries where political and personal connections can always lead to rewriting of rules, and some economic justification can always be found to show how many more jobs will be generated by development.

One major problem is that the tourism industry is unable to come to terms with the word ‘optimise’. Most of the industry is driven by the need to maximise – be it returns, yields, profits, and visitor arrivals. That suggests a growth that is continuous and unending. The law of nature says that everything has a breaking point. One can extend or stretch that breaking point a few notches but not indefinitely. As always the responsibility for enforcing the concept of '‘responsible tourism'’ falls back on the shoulders of local communities.

So, is ‘responsible tourism’ a lost cause? Is it just another fancy term that sounds nice on paper but is virtually unenforceable? Does tourism indeed contain the seeds of its own destruction? Whichever way you look at it, there are no easy answers, if indeed there are any at all. [Source PATA Conference Daily May 2000]

VANUATU UPDATE

Nemegea Ceremony Programme

The Nemegea Ceremony is translated in English as the pig killing ceremony on south-west Bay, Malekula. The Nemegea is a ceremony, which is held to mark the transition from one grade to the next level. On Tuesday June 20th 2000, Chief Bungran of Tomman Island will be putting on the Nemegea ceremony to obtain his 4th grade ranking. This will be held on his Nakamal called Leweiang Nakamal on Tomman Island. Island Safaris has a full day programme and is offering an opportunity for residents and visitors to witness and be part of this ceremony. The Nemegea Ceremony Programme is a 3 days and 2 nights package – from June 19 – 21 2000 at VT 34, 620. This price includes return airfares, transportation to/from Tomman Island, Nemegea entry fees, accommodation and all meals. For more information contact Island Safaris on tel/fax (678) 23288/26779 or on e-mail islands@vanuatu.com.vu. [Source Vanuatu Product Update Issue 23 May 2000]

Ghostbuster Water Tours

Vanuatu’s latest and newest tourism venture offering affordable tours from as low as AUD$8.00. The two 9m former Americas Cup water Taxi sports boats can carry you in comfort to an amazing range of destinations – some exclusive to the company. Enjoy a leisurely inner harbour cruise, the exhilaration of a thrilling ride to Devils Point destination or experience one of the specially tailored half day tours which include swimming, snorkeling, pristine white sand beaches and light refreshments. For more information or booking contact Ghostbuster Water Tours and Kayak Hire tel/fax (678) 27006. [Source Vanuatu Product Update Issue 23 May 2000]

Any Views or News for our Weekly Update contact:

Diane Nalatu South Pacific Tourism Organisation E-mail: diane_n@spto.org Tel: (679) 304 177, Fax: (679) 301 995

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FIJI

The Warwick Fiji

The Warwick Fiji has been in touch with all wholesalers advising them of the following

"We wish to inform you that all is calm around Fiji. The Warwick Fiji is operating as normal with all houseguests enjoying themselves in the usual manner. Rest assured that everything is done to keep your clients happy during their stay with us". For further information please contact Mr. John Stark the Director of Sales and Marketing on telephone (679) 530 555, Fax (679) 530 010 or on e-mail warwickres@is.com.fj. [Source The Warwick Fiji 20th May 2000]

Fiji - Mass Cancellations in Hotel Bookings

Massive cancellations for hotel bookings have taken place in Fiji following the Government takeover last Friday. With the increasing daily cancellations. Hotels may start looking at laying off workers. Fiji Hotel Association President Hafiz Khan confirmed this adding hotels may start taking drastic actions. "Japan and New Zealand have stopped altogether while a few are still coming in from other countries", Mr Khan said. "Right now it’s too early to tell what would happen to the tourism industry after all has settled, a lot of hard work needs to be put in to lift the industry up again. [Source Fiji Times 24th May 2000]

www.fijilive.com

To receive timely information regarding the current situation in Fiji click on www.fijilive.com. This is not the official Fiji Governments website, rather it is maintained and updated by Webmasters which is an independent company.

Fiji Visitors Bureau Bulletin

Bulletin # 7 10.00a.m. Thursday 25th May 2000

Issued by the Fiji Visitors Bureau, Suva

All eyes are focussed on Suva this morning as the paramount indigenous council, the Great Council of Chiefs, continue their deliberations towards a solution to the current crisis, heightened by the presence in the city of the Secretary General to the Commonwealth, Don McKinnon and United Nations representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

An announcement from the Council is expected sometime today. At that time the President of Fiji, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, will be presented with the Chief’s resolutions.

With powers given to him under the Constitution, as the head of government he will be in a position to enact the resolutions. As President of the Great Council of Chiefs, it is expected that he will be in agreement with all the resolutions presented.

As the country moves towards to a solution, Fiji’s tourism industry has begun to feel the effects of the crisis. Whilst the tourism centres around the country continue as normal, there has been an increase in cancellations, especially from Japan and New Zealand. This still hasn’t significantly affected airlines flying in and out of Nadi International Airport where all services are operating as scheduled. Nor has it affected other services associated with the tourism industry.

Issued by:

Fiji Visitors Bureau Suva, Fiji Islands 24th May 2000 Telephone: (679) 302 433 Fax: (679) 300 986 or 300 970

For further information please contact : Mr. S. Yaqona, Chief Exceutive or Mr. Bill Whiting, Director of Marketing.

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