SPTO launches new regional tourism brand in the UK

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) launched the new regional tourism brand ‘South Pacific Islands’ at two VIP events for travel agents and media in the United Kingdom.

The events in London and Canterbury last week were also attended by Pacific tourism sector representatives from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tahiti and Tonga.

The “South Pacific Islands” brand is complemented by the tagline, “Ours is Yours”, which invites the world to discover the South Pacific with messages such as ‘Ours secrets are yours to discover’, ‘Our friendships are yours to keep’, ‘Our songs are yours to sing’, and “Our stories are yours to tell’.

“The evening in Canterbury was very informative and I felt that I learned a lot about this part of the world that I have sold but never really known much about or how different all the islands can be,” said Lesley Dean of Your Holiday Expert.

“The event in Canterbury was really good,” said Sebastian Sarrasin of Samoa Tourism Authority. 

“It was well attended and the travel agents were very keen to learn about the destination. It was a real bonus to have so many homeworkers who are usually quite difficult to reach out to.”   

SPTO began the re-brand exercise two years ago with the challenge of finding a common characteristic to unify diverse Pacific Island countries under a single umbrella brand. The new brand also had to reflect an identity that the world could relate and aspire to.

The new brand concept, developed with the help of Sydney-based FutureBrand, was endorsed by the SPTO Board and approved by the Council of Pacific Tourism Ministers Meeting in the Cook Islands in October.

The United Kingdom is the first global market for the brand launch and it continues to be an important market for the South Pacific. SPTO is committed to growing outbound travel from this market into the Pacific region in partnership with key travel partners in the UK.

Over the past five years, growth in UK and European tourist arrivals to the region slowed following a 7.3% (14,758 arrivals) fall in 2012. In 2015, tourist arrivals from both markets grew by 0.8%. The outcome reflected slow growth in the three lead destinations namely Fiji, French Polynesia and New Caledonia. In terms of market shares out of UK and Europe over the last four years, Fiji has remained flat at 24%, French Polynesia at around the 30% and New Caledonia hovering around 21%.

SPTO used the two UK events to promote its online South Pacific Specialist training programme for travel agents and the regional travel trade event South Pacific Tourism Exchange to be held in Sydney in May 2017. This event attracted a total of fifty participants.

Based in Suva, SPTO works with 16 Pacific island countries and Timor Leste to market and develop tourism in the South Pacific region.