Donor response pleases South Pacific Tourism Organisation

SPTO Chair and Sponsor

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) received a great response from donor agencies in their first donor forum held at the end of last month at Holiday Inn Suva, Fiji.

“The donor agencies are asking for another forum like this so our Chair Lady has said that we’ll have another one next year,” said CEO of SPTO, Chris Cocker.

Meanwhile, SPTO chairperson Papali’i Sonja Hunter said, “We plan to make this an annual forum where our development partners and donors will hear what SPTO has achieved and also to find out what SPTO will be doing for the coming period. So it’s a good because as they always say ‘when they know they will care, when they don’t know they don’t care’.”

The SPTO chief said they had 16 proposals and there was no way they could do all of them but if they had support for just three or four, that was a big achievement for them. “So a lot of donors who came in have said they are interested in certain areas; donors like the World Bank, the ADB; this is a good stepping stone for us because once we get in through their doors there are other opportunities you can knock on,” Mr Cocker said.“I would say that whilst it’s not secured the interest is there from certain donors.

“Out of the 14 donors here six of them have shown interest in certain project proposals we’ve outlined and have asked for further elaboration from us. We invited 20 donor agencies and 14 attended; we’re just focusing on donor agencies because we want to focus on tourism.”

Ms Hunter said their donor roundtable conference “was also a forum where development partners got to know a lot about what SPTO is doing and also for us to find out what their criteria are because we are actually here as a regional organisation to help our member countries; we know what their needs are but we have to look for assistance to ensure that the gaps that we have on delivering on the need are met and filled,” she said.

The SPTO, with sponsorship from BSP, held a donor forum and luncheon at Holiday Inn Suva.

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