ISSUE NO. 19 - 2ND AUGUST 2002


Australian campaign targets Italian travellers  A new tourism campaign has been launched by the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) to boost the number of Italians travelling to Australia each year. The new campaign aims to build awareness and interest in Australia and increase the likelihood of Italians choosing Australia as their next holiday destination. Australia has strong appeal with European travellers and there is great potential to increase its share of outbound travel from the region, including Italy. The campaign includes online advertising and a 14-page travel supplement distributed in the country's leading newspapers, which have a combined readership of five million people. The campaign targets Italians who have never visited Australia before and focuses on a range of Australian holiday experiences. (Source: ATC Online, 19/7/02) 

WTO to become a specialized agency of the UN The World Tourism Organization may soon gain more international status and recognition as a specialized agency of the UN. The Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC) adopted a resolution by consensus on 24th July 2002 that has opened the way for WTO to become a specialized agency of the United Nations Organization. The resolution provides for a negotiations process that could lead to the transformation of WTO. The Secretary-General of WTO Mr. Francesco Frangialli stated that the WTO transformation into a specialized agency of the UN will "constitute a remarkable step forward, which can be characterized by three words: recognition, effectiveness, and impetus." (Source: Travel Daily News, 31/7/02) 


Vanuatu visitor arrivals increase in May 2002 Latest report from Vanuatu's Statistics Bureau indicated that visitor arrivals in May 2002 was 4,023, an increase of 18.6% over April 2002, and an increase of 14.2% over May 2001. Of the 4,023 people that visited Vanuatu in May 2002, 3059 visited purposely for holiday, 609 came for business/meetings and conference, 293 visited friends and relatives and 62 as stopovers. Australia remains the prime market, with an increase of 6.8% over May 2001. Arrivals increased over the same period for New Caledonia at 164.8%, other countries at 34.0%, Japan at 25.4%, Europe 7.0%, New Zealand 1.7% while other Pacific countries showed a decrease of 27.2%.

The National Tourism Office is optimistic, figures are on the increase in the months after May, due to various marketing activities and efforts. The NTO has embarked on a major television campaign "Think South Pacific, Think Vanuatu" currently running in Australia till December and till September in New Zealand. (Source: National Tourism Office of Vanuatu, 19/7/02)

Director returns to Tonga Visitors Bureau The Director of the Tonga Visitors Bureau, Semisi Taumoepeau, has returned to his substantive post following a 19 month stint as Chief Executive Officer of Royal Tongan Airlines. Mr Taumoepeau, who was seconded to the airlines by the Government of Tonga, has been the TVB's Director since 1980. He stated that he was looking forward to be fully involved in the development and promotion of tourism to optimise benefits for the Kingdom. Mr Taumoepeau forecast that more than $T16 million would be brought into the country by the 40,000 plus visitors expected to Tonga over the next 12 months. He also wants to step up Tonga's tourism investment campaign and predicted that two or three multi million dollar tourism projects would be completed by the end of the financial year. (Source: Tonga Visitors Bureau, 29/07/02)

PNG arrivals decline  Papua New Guinea's visitor arrivals was 12,675 for the first quarter of 2002, a decrease of 2.6 per cent compared to the same period last year. Main reasons for visitation was business, which accounted for 8,568 arrivals (67.6 per cent); holidays 3,054 (24.1 per cent); and arrivals visiting friends and relatives 1,008 (8 per cent). The highest source markets were Australia and the USA, recording 47 per cent and 12 per cent respectively of the total arrivals. UK recorded 13 per cent increase followed by Australia (2 per cent), other European countries (1 per cent) and New Zealand (1.5 per cent). Markets that recorded decreases were Germany, a 65 per cent decline, followed by Japan (46 per cent), and Canada (10 per cent). Eighty-six per cent visited the Highlands provinces while 20 per cent visited the coastal areas for business purposes. (Source: Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, 19/7/02)

Taha'a Pearl Beach Resort & Spa opens in French Polynesia The Taha'a Pearl Beach Resort & Spa opened its doors to holiday makers on Monday July 29th, 2002. A perfect Polynesian Pearl came into the light, offering a spectacular and elegant escape to the South Pacific in the pure tradition of the Pearl Resort, an unspoiled & pristine motu (small islet on the reef), an incomparable view of Bora Bora, the longest white sand beach in French Polynesia, 12 beach suites with a private pool, 48 over water suites with direct access to the lagoon, refined and personalized service. For more info visit their website (Source: Taha'a Pearl Beach Resort, 26/7/02)

Samoa's Sinalei Reef Resort closes for year Samoa's Sinalei Reef Resort will be closed to the public for a year while it is hired out exclusively to a group of artists from around the world. The owner of the luxury resort, Folasaitu Joe Annandale, said Sinalei will close on Tuesday, to reopen to the public, on the same date in 2003. An estimate of 40 people are expected to live at the hotel for a year. Some of the current staff will be maintained, some have taken a year off while others will be reallocated to Vavau Resort. The new occupants will be a mixture of people specializing in different art forms, such as music, dancing, sculpture, painting and others. They were looking for somewhere peaceful in the world where they can be creative, and they chose Sinalei because it was the right size, with 25 units it is in a secluded area. "These are people with busy lives who have been searching for a peaceful place where they can cleanse themselves of impurities, exercise and have a healthy diet and lifestyle," said Folasaitu. (Source: PINA Nius Online, 01/08/02)


Additional Polynesian flight to Samoa starts August Polynesian Airlines will add a new service between Australia and New Zealand to Samoa next month. The new service will operate every Wednesday starting 28th August, 2002. The addition of the new service will bring to four the number of flights from Auckland to Apia. Polynesian Airlines currently operates flights between Auckland and Apia on Sundays, Tuesdays & Thursdays. For further information contact your nearest Polynesian Airlines office. (Source: Samoa Visitors Bureau, 29/7/02)

Cruise in Luxury - Dive in Paradise Blue Lagoon Cruises (BLC) and West Side Watersports have introduced a unique product for the recreational dive market targeting the recreational diver & non-diving partner. Board a luxurious BLC vessel to the beautiful Yasawa Island tropical paradise to enjoy a full cruise and dive itinerary. Dive as much or as little as you want with up to three dives a day, up to 15 dives in seven days. Packages begin at F$1,499 for the diver and non-diver F$999. All packages include private accommodation, cruise transportation and services, morning and afternoon tea, cruise entertainment, excursions to traditional Fijian villages, activities included in the cruise schedule, ship to shore transfers and all scheduled dive trips. Departs the first Saturday of each month. Email BLC at for more information. (Source: Fiji Islands Deals and Specials Newsletter, 19/7/02)

Tonga signs air deal with Brunei The Kingdom of Tonga and Brunei have signed a landmark civil aviation deal. Royal Tongan Airlines and Royal Brunei Airlines have just signed an air service agreement. The deal is understood to enable Royal Brunei, through its partnership with Royal Tongan, to get access to route rights held by Royal Tongan. These are said to include a possible route to the USA. Royal Tongan in turn gets access to aircraft to boost its own international services. King Taufa'ahau said Royal Brunei is willing to lease Royal Tongan a Boeing 757-200 aircraft. Tonga and Brunei have agreed that sharing the aircraft with Samoa is an option. King Taufa'ahau also said that Royal Brunei Airlines wants to use a Boeing 767 aircraft, with plans to include Tonga-Honolulu-Los Angeles return flights. He added that this can also be used to upgrade flight connections from Tonga and Samoa to Europe. (Source: PINA Nius Online, 22/7/02)

P&O 2003 Summer Cruises P&O South Pacific Cruises had such a successful summer season out of Auckland, New Zealand this year, that it has released its list of cruises on the Pacific Sky ex Auckland for the March-April 2003 season. The range of cruises will also include two cruises - Magic Memories & Tropical Treasures cruises for 11 nights visiting 3 ports, Yasawa-I-Rara (Fiji), Apia (Samoa) and Nuku'alofa (Tonga). The cruises depart Auckland on 12th March & 2nd April 2003 respectively, and cruise fares start from NZ$1794 per adult in a four berth cabin. For more information contact your nearest P&O Cruises office. (Source: Samoa Visitors Bureau, 29/7/02)

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The SOUTH PACIFIC TOURISM WEEKLY UPDATE is produced and distributed by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) as a complimentary service to its members and friends of the South Pacific. The Weekly Update provides timely information on tourism happenings within the South Pacific region, its key markets and internationally. 

Editor  Jaspreet Sharma  South Pacific Tourism Organisation Level 3, FNPF Place,  343 - 359 Victoria Parade Suva, FIJI ISLANDS Ph: (679) 330 4177  Fax: (679) 330 1995 E-mail:  Visit South Pacific Islands at  SOUTH PACIFIC ISLANDS  DISCOVER PARADISE!! 

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