TPA Chief Executive Officer Mr Jerry Agus accompanied by TPA Board Secretary Mr Colin Taimbari attended the official launch of the 2019 Year of Tourism for China and Pacific Island Countries amid fanfare and fireworks in Apia, Samoa.
The 2019 Year of Tourism for China and Pacific Islands Countries was as a direct result of APEC Port Moresby 2018 where Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Pacific Island Leaders and made a commitment to develop tourism among others. In his congratulatory message delivered at the launch in Samoa by China’s Minister for Culture and Tourism Mr Luo Shugang, President Xi Jinping said the launch opens a new chapter of ties between China and Pacific Island counties.
Representing the South Pacific Tourism Organisation member countries’ Samoa’s acting Prime minister Ms Fiame Naomi Mataafa sad it was a milestone achievement and offers a great opportunity for Pacific Island countries to showcase to China what the Pacific Island countries have to offer with their stunning natural landscapes, sandy beaches, unique culture and friendly people.
“China-Pacific Tourism Year 2019 also reflects, how we as leaders of the region, have placed value on the thriving Asian outbound tourism markets particularly China with the world’s largest outbound market of around 140 million visitors last year,” she said.
Increasingly, Chinese travellers are looking for new destinations and experiences and the Pacific island region is still an untapped destination. she added.
Mr Agus said at the launch, the Government and people of Papua New Guinea were ready to partner with China and fellow Pacific Island countries to develop tourism in the region.Earlier, in the day, the PNG TPA team had one-on-one business meetings with major tourism industry players and senior government officials from the Peoples Republic of China.The challenge for Pacific Islands States now is to be China-Ready if we are to reap any benefits from this initiative.