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Tourism Potential in the Pacific

May 24, 2016 | 1:00 ET, 05:00 GMT

Tourism plays an important role in Pacific Island economies and is one of the region’s few economically viable sectors. Total tourism spending in Pacific Island countries for 2013 amounted to US$1.4 billion – just over US$1,000 per visitor.

In 2014, a record 1.37 million overnight visitors arrived across eleven Pacific Island countries, with Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Samoa and Vanuatu making up the top five destinations. Two thirds of visitors traveling to Pacific Island countries are from Australia and New Zealand, while the United States, China, Japan and Europe represent significant growth potential.

However, more arrivals does not necessarily mean more spending, and due to the ecological sensitivity of Pacific Island countries, attracting low-volume, high-yielding tourists is crucial.

As the potential of tourism is realised, what actions are being taken by the public and private sectors to boost high-yield visitors? What role is sustainability playing in tourism development? And what role will niche markets like cruising, play?


Chairperson, South Pacific Tourism Organisation

Senior Technical Specialist, International Finance Corporation

Acting Director-General, Papua New Guinea Office of Tourism, Arts and Culture

Reporter and Presenter, Australian Broadcasting Corporation