Local Tourism Operators Expand Global Reach at South Pacific Tourism Exchange

Local Tourism Operators Expand Global Reach at South Pacific Tourism Exchange

By Simon Tavake

A team led by the Tourism Solomons including Tourism Operators  attended and represented the country in the South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) program held in Fiji last week.

The exchange program was organized by the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO), which brought together ‘tourism wholesalers’ around the world to meet with ‘pacific operators’ on a one-on-one business-to-business exchange.

When interviewed by SIBC news this week, Tourism Solomons Head of Sales and Marketing Ms. Fiona Teama emphasized the importance of this program.

She highlighted the importance of allowing tourism operators to participate directly in the program, rather than relying on Tourism Solomons to represent the country.

“Previously only Tourism Solomons could attend such tourism exchange programs. Now we see the need for the operators themselves to be involved directly with the buyers or wholesalers, facilitating discussions about their products and negotiation on rates,” Ms. Teama Said.

She further added, “For example, there is one operator from the Western Province who was also with us on this trip where he met with some wholesalers and was able to talk first-hand about his product, his rates and the accessibility of flights to the destination.”

“The wholesalers can go back and sell the product. So, you see it is more like a direct approach for both parties,” the Tourism Solomons head of Sales and Marketing explained.

In the tourism industry, ‘buyers’ refer to individuals or organizations that purchase tourism-related products or services, while ‘wholesalers’ act as agents who buy these products or services from suppliers, like hotels or tour operators, and then resell them to retailers or directly to consumers.

According to Ms. Teama, she had received positive feedback from local operators on the program. One of them is Amanda Riniu.

Paringiju Mountain Lodge Managing Director, Amanda Riniu with Miss Pacific Islands during the SPTE in Fiji.

Amanda is the Managing Director of Paringiju Mountain Lodge, a family-owned eco-tourism service located in the lush Tropical Rainforest of Central Guadalcanal.

For her, she sees this as an opportunity for her family to market their products and services to buyers around the world.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever attended a premium tourism exchange program in the Pacific. It’s amazing to see and meet people not only from the Pacific but from around the globe who share the same interest in the tourism industry,” Amanda told SIBC news.

“As a tourism operator, this is the biggest opportunity for us to directly market our products and services to potential buyers worldwide. It’s a business-to-business platform where we all stand to benefit from the agreements that we made.”

“I thank Tourism Solomons for giving us this opportunity to showcase our uniqueness to the world,” said Ms. Riniu.

Operating a tourism business can be tough and challenging, particularly when it comes to marketing and promotion. An influx of guests into the business often reflects the effectiveness of a well-structured marketing strategy.

However, for Amanda, a legal clerk turned business woman in the industry, she expressed delight in every aspect of it.

“I was a legal clerk for the past five years before I resigned and looked after our family business. I find it interesting because I interact directly with people, not only locals but individuals from all around the world.”

“It has been a wonderful experience for me. After two years in this industry, I have made the decision to become a full-time tourism business operator,” said Amanda Riniu.

Meanwhile, Tourism Solomons invites local tourism operators to join their upcoming tourism exchange program in October this year, offering a chance for growth and collaboration.


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