SOUTH PACIFIC TOURISM UPDATE

INTERNATIONAL UPDATE

New Zealand arrivals plunge in August

International visitor arrivals into New Zealand in August went down by 2.6 percent. After initial increases in the beginning of this year, visitors' willingness to travel has decreased over the last few months, reflected in the slowing of visitor growth progressively this year.  The latest figures translate into a loss of 3,592 visitors compared to the same period last year. The North American and Japanese markets, which were both dramatically affected by the events of September last year, recorded decreases in August - down 2.8 and 5.7 percent respectively. Apart from Japan, there were increases from all New Zealand's main markets in Asia. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, China, Thailand and Malaysia all increased, and nearly all in double-digit growth. Visitors from Singapore, which had been generally slowing in their rate of growth in the last year, increased considerably in August, up by 32 percent. The biggest decrease in August came from New Zealand's largest market, Australia, down by 12.1 percent on the same month in 2001. (Source: www.tourisminfo.govt.nz 20/9/02)

Japanese visitor arrivals to Guam tumble

Japanese tourist arrivals dipped 21 percent in August, causing Guam's lowest August visitor total in the past seven years. Acting General Manager Therese Cruz said Guam's tourism woes would worsen if the United States attacks Iraq. "Japanese tourists are cautious travelers and they worry about visiting overseas locations in a climate of war, as demonstrated by the steep drop during the Gulf War", she said.

While South Korean visitor arrivals increased 50 percent from 10,457 in August last year to 15,653 last month, the surge was not enough to offset the 21 percent decline in the Japan market, Guam's primary source of visitors. (Source: Pacific Daily News, 20/09/02)

Oneworld - world's best airline alliance

Oneworld, whose members include American Airlines, has been named the world's Best Airline Alliance in what is believed to be the first major award recognizing this sector of the travel industry. It received the honor in the 2002 Business Traveller Awards. The magazine presents its trophies based on the findings of its annual poll of its readers, who include some of the world's most frequent flyers. The award was presented to Oneworld at a ceremony in London attended by more than 400 senior travel industry executives from around the world. (Source: Travel Daily News, 01/10/02)

REGIONAL

Fiji visitor arrivals continue to rise

A total of 38,207 visitors arrived into Fiji in August, an increase of 12.7% over the same month last year. Australia once again led in arrivals recording a total of 10,273 up 25.3% over last year. New Zealand was also up by 7.5% over last year with 8,917 as was the United Kingdom that jumped by 40.6% over the previous August to 4,025. Japan also showed an increase of 16.9% over last year totaling 3,114 for the month, while Continental Europe was up by 2.1% with 1,976 arrivals. United States provided 5,201 arrivals only .3% down from last August while Canada with 775 arrivals showed negative growth. For more information email ppant@bulafiji.com (Source: Fiji Visitors Bureau, 27/9/02)

Scandinavian travel agents visit Cook Islands & Fiji

A group of ten travel agents from Sweden and Norway experienced Cook Islands and Fiji for two weeks in the second half of September. The initiative came from PATA Sweden Chapter and co-sponsors on this trip were Air New Zealand, Fiji Visitors Bureau and Island Hopper Vacations, Cook Islands. During the four days in Cook Islands and the six days in Fiji the Scandinavian travel agents experienced what these countries have to offer.

Tour escort on this famil was Lars Jonsson, Managing Director of the South Pacific specialist wholesaler Tour Pacific in Sweden. Lars has visited Cook Island three times before and Fiji five times before so he was the ideal escort. The interest for South Pacific in Scandinavia is higher than ever before and it is vital that travel agents gain a higher awareness and knowledge of the Pacific islands to capitalize on the increased demand from travellers. (Source: Tour Pacific, 09/02)

Samoa's new Tourism Development Plan launched

Samoa's Minister of Tourism, Hon. Hans Joachim Keil launched the nation's new Tourism Development Plan 2002 - 2006 last month. The plan was produced by New Zealand firm Tourism Resource Consultants and funded by NZAID. The plan took over a year to produce from the inception stage to developing strategies. The TRC team worked closely with the Samoa Visitors Bureau and consulted all stakeholders of the tourism industry from village chiefs through to women's committees and youth groups. The final phase will be a series of workshops throughout Samoa next month with all stakeholders to discuss the plan's implementation. (Source: Tala Samoa, Sept 2002)

Fiji's new Matai loyalty plan

The Fiji Visitors Bureau has launched its Matai Fiji Islands Specialist Program, a new destination loyalty plan for Australia's retail travel industry and wholesalers. The Matai program was launched by new Bureau chief executive, Bill Gavoka, in Sydney on October 1st. It is designed to develop a core of Fiji travel specialists to increase the awareness of the destination and ultimately increase sales by agents and visitor traffic to Fiji and to create a distinctive preference for Fiji among targeted agents while achieving the best possible returns for the Bureau's marketing investment.

Matai in the Fijian language has several meanings all of which are appropriate to the purpose and goals of the Fiji Island Specialist Program, for example, an expert or a guide. (Source: Fiji Visitors Bureau Australia, 01/10/02)

SPTO MEMBER UPDATE

New Chairman elected for SPTO Board

SPTO's Board of Directors appointed a new chairman and deputy chairman of its Board at its meeting in Cook Islands last month. Robert Skews, Managing Director of Island Hopper Vacations Ltd based in the Cook Islands has been elected the new Chairman of SPTO and Viliame Gavoka, Chief Executive of the Fiji Visitors Bureau has been elected as the Deputy Chairman of the SPTO Board.

Robert Skews is the second private sector board member elected as the Chairman of SPTO. To work more closely with the tourism industry members in the region, SPTO decided in 1998 to incorporate private sector members in its Board, which was till then closed to government representatives of member countries.

SPTO Tourism Industry Membership

OTHER NEWS

Miss South Pacific Pageant 2002

The Miss South Pacific Pageant 2002 will be held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands from 23rd to 30th November. The theme for this year's pageant, "Embraced...Nesian Style" is intended to highlight the unity of the Pacific people as we endeavour to remain steadfast and continue to nurture our cultures, values and lifestyles: whether Polynesian, Micronesian or Melanesian. This year will see an upbeat and energetic approach to the Miss South Pacific, adding a little youthful Cook Islands flavour to complement the individual essences of the Pacific region. For further information email Lisa Sadaraka at lisa@sailsrestaurant.co.ck (Source: Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, 12/9/02)

Rare Vanuatu tribal ceremony not seen in 57 years

Island Safaris has negotiated to allow limited overseas visitors to spend 3-days/2-nights on Ambrym to witness this rare occasion; a package from capital Port Vila will cost around 43,740 Vatu (approximately Aus$591) and will include return air fares from Port Vila, 2-nights accommodation, and return boat transfers between the airport, accommodation and Melbera Village where the ceremony will be held. For details contact Island Safaris on email islands@vanuatu.com (Source: Vanuatu Tourism Product Update, Sept 2002)

Samoa set for major cruise ship boost in 2003 - Correction

Following are corrections to the above news item from our last Update. The correct names of the two cruise ships expected to visit Samoa next year are the Pacific Sky from P&O Australia and the Pacific Princess (II) formerly Renaissance Cruises R3 from the Princess Cruises USA. The Pacific Sky, was formerly known as the Fair Sky and Sky Princess and not Sea Princess as mentioned in the last Update. We apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Any Comments? News to Share?

If you have any comments about this newsletter or articles and information relevant to tourism both within the region and internationally, please send to info@spto.org Please also include the source of the item.

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

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: info@spto.org  Visit South Pacific Islands at www.spto.org  SOUTH PACIFIC ISLANDS DISCOVER PARADISE!!

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