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The 2nd Pacific Sustainable Tourism Leadership Summit witnessed a historic moment with the official launch of the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Standard (PSTS), setting a new benchmark in sustainable tourism practices.  The Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) held the two-day event in French Polynesia.

The PSTS results from a year-long collaborative effort, beginning in June 2022 and reaching its culmination in June 2023. Notably, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has officially recognised the PSTS as equivalent to its own criteria, marking a significant milestone in pursuing sustainable tourism.

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation CEO and Chair of the Sustainable Tourism Board Sub-Committee, Karla Eggelton, expressed readiness to support the rollout of awareness and training programs across the Pacific region, underscoring the commitment to making the PSTS a success.

The development of the PSTS was made possible through the generous funding the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZ MFAT) provided. TRC Tourism was pivotal in developing the PSTS, facilitating consultations with National Tourism Organizations (NTOs), CROP Agencies, and other key partners.

Highlighting the importance of putting policy into action, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Tourism Specialist Paul Davis mentioned that policy strategies like the PTSS could be developed and left on the shelf too often.

“This has been actively worked on with the expert guidance of TRC Tourism and is now embraced by all your organisations,” Mr. Davis said.

SPTO CEO Christopher Cocker emphasised that the launch of the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Standard represented a significant step towards more responsible and sustainable tourism practices in the Pacific region.

He said it was a testament to the collaborative efforts of governments, organisations, and individuals who are committed to protecting and preserving the natural beauty and cultural richness of the Pacific for future generations.

“The importance of collective action and that the standards provide another pathway for effecting transformative change in tourism by turning policy into action. We have heard in the last two days that the journey towards sustainable tourism cannot be embarked upon in isolation. We all need to work together – or nothing will move forward,” Mr Cocker said.


“As we look ahead, the next phase of implementation for the PSTS will involve raising awareness and implementing training programs, ensuring that the standards are effectively integrated into the operations of NTOs across the Pacific.”