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David Vaeafe tapped to lead South Pacific Tourism

David Vaeafe
Source: South Pacific Tourism Organisation media release

Auckland, NEW ZEALAND —  The South Pacific Tourism Organisation has a new chairperson, he is David Vaeafe, the Executive Director of the American Samoa Visitors Bureau.

The announcement was made this week after the SPTO board met in Auckland ahead of the South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) which ended Friday.

Mr. Vaeafe brings to the organisation more than 20 years of experience in the national and regional tourism industry and is looking forward to his role as Chairperson, “It’s an exciting time to continue moving the  organization forward and remain relevant in the changing global climate. This is the first time that two members of the smaller island states are holding positions of the Chair and Deputy Chair.”

The Deputy Chair is Mrs. Felicity Bollen from Niue. Following his appointment Mr. Vaeafe thanked former Chairperson, Papali’i Matatamalii Sonia Hunter for her leadership over the past six years, “Papalii has served the region for many years and has been a strong advocate of the tourism sector and I shall endeavor to maintain the growth that the industry has achieved these past years through her hard work.”

Commenting on some of the outcomes of the Board meeting, Mr. Vaeafe said the board approved the SPTO Membership Prospectus and new Strategic Plan for 2020-2024 and is committed to elevating tourism to the Ministerial and leaders level through stronger advocacy.

“This is part of our strategy to support SPTO as the organization that will promote and develop reginal tourism as a priority for the region. In terms of sustainable tourism, we recognize the importance of partnerships to support sustainable tourism development in the Pacific,” said Mr. Vaeafe.

SPTO also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO). The agreement covers information sharing, coordination and cooperation, and strengthens the links between two sectors (tourism and aviation) that are closely interlinked and vital for economic growth throughout the Pacific.  
Both SPTO and PASO are members of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP), and this agreement further strengthens the regional approach to common opportunities and challenges facing the aviation and tourism sectors in the Pacific.   

The next SPTO Board and annual Council of Ministers meetings will be held in Niue from 30th September to 5th of October, 2019.