Islands & Small States Tourism Conference: Current Issues and Future Challenges
The University of the South Pacific hosted an international tourism conference from 12 – 14 September, 2011 at the Laucala Campus. Facilitated by the School of Tourism & Hospitality Management (STHM), the conference was aimed at bringing together academics and practitioners to discuss issues and challenges facing tourism, particularly in islands and small states.
Senior Lecturer at STHM, Dr Stephen Pratt believes that although tourism has become a major driver of economic growth and sustainable development in many Pacific Island countries, yet islands and small states have shown to be especially vulnerable to such external influences as natural disasters, political unrest and downturns in the global economy.
The conference addressed policy issues and provided practical recommendations to the stakeholders in the tourism industry so that appropriate forms of sustainable tourism could be enhanced and developed. “This will provide a high quality experience for all visitors and bring more lasting benefits to Pacific Islanders,” he added.
The conference covered important issues for islands and small states such as; examining tourism’s economic, socio-cultural and environmental impacts and tourism’s connection with the agricultural sector. Other important issues included; the impact of climate change on tourism and tourism’s contribution to climate change as well as the role of indigenous tourism in the South Pacific.
The conference featured a range of local, regional and international speakers from New Zealand, Australia as well as Europe and Asia.