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The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH will enter into a partnership to collaborate on strengthening tourism in the Pacific region.

The long-term objective is to advise the tourism industry, in particular the hotel sector, on renewable energy and energy efficiency options.

Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Suva today, GIZ Programme Director, Dr. Wulf Killmann and SPTO Board Chair, Papalii Matatamalii Sonja Hunter expressed their excitement about this new collaboration.

“Through this partnership, SPTO will seek out opportunities to organise workshops and seminars in collaboration with GIZ so we can provide our tourism industry stakeholders with an understanding of best practices for renewable energy solutions and energy efficiency,” Ms. Hunter said.

Read the full article here.

 

By South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) 

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Songkran Festival (Shutterstock)

 

Songkran is the Thai New Year festival celebrated from 13 – 15 April. It is one of the country’s most important public holidays. Songkran is a Buddhist festival also celebrated in many other parts of Asia including Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and parts of China. Each country has its own unique rituals and celebrations.

Water holds considerable significance during Songkran. It is a vital part of the celebrations as it is used for the ritual cleansing. However, this ritual expands inevitably into a giant fiesta of water splashing. If you visit these countries during this New Year period, be prepared to get very wet!

Songkran is a joyous time and an important festival for all Buddhists but it is important to act responsibly and conserve water – our most precious natural asset.

Here are some thoughts to consider when celebrating Songkran this week-end:

 

  1. Celebrate in traditional style

Celebrate Songkran traditionally by sprinkling a small amount of water over the hands of elders to receive a blessing for the upcoming year. This is a gentle and very meaningful gesture in Buddhist society.

 

  1. Use spray bottles – not water guns

It may be tempting and probably a must to take part in a water fight but you should consider using spray bottles as an alternative to the water guns.

 

  1. Visit a temple

Many temples offer Songkran activities and traditional shows where you may learn about the core concept of the water festivals in the company of local residents and fellow visitors.

 

Check South East Asia’s best temples here.

Songkran is a wonderful opportunity for mingling with locals and making new friends. Take time to consider how best to celebrate this year’s amazing Songkran Festival whilst remaining ever mindful of the need to conserve water.

 

Songkran Festival (Shutterstock)

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Severe bleaching last year on the northern Great Barrier Reef affected even the largest and oldest corals, like this slow-growing Porites colony.
TERRY HUGHES ET AL. / NATURE

SYDNEY, Australia — The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has long been one of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders, so enormous it can be seen from space, so beautiful it can move visitors to tears.

But the reef, and the profusion of sea creatures living near it, are in profound trouble.

Huge sections of the Great Barrier Reef, stretching across hundreds of miles of its most pristine northern sector, were recently found to be dead, killed last year by overheated seawater. More southerly sections around the middle of the reef that barely escaped then are bleaching now, a potential precursor to another die-off that could rob some of the reef’s most visited areas of color and life. Read more here.

From The New York Times. By Damien Cave and Justin Gillis.

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In case you didn’t know, apparently there is a shortage of sand in the world. Since sand is used in a variety of industries, ranging from construction where it is used in mortar, plaster, concrete, asphalt, as well as being used in the pharmaceutical industry, safe to say that it is a very important resource.

This is why over in New Zealand, a report from AdWeek (via Geek) has revealed that a company called DB Breweries has launched an effort to help with the sand shortage. How, you ask? By asking customers to drink more beer, and to put their empty beer bottles through specially-built machines, where those bottles will be crushed into a sand substitute.

Read more on how drinking beer can help the increase of sand. By Tyler Lee

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We often fin right over them on our way to the next coral head, but we can’t ignore the importance of seagrass meadows when it comes to ocean health.

seagrass meadows

If you dive in the tropics, you’re probably quite familiar with coral reefs. You know your hard corals from your soft corals and your parrotfish from your wrasse. Some of you may even know your pleurobranchs from your nudibranchs. But you may not know much about the beautiful stretches of seagrass that you sail over to reach those reefs. In reality, we can’t ignore the importance of seagrass meadows when it comes to ocean health, and we shouldn’t ignore these environments as divers. By Charlie Wiseman. Read more.

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SPTO Christina Leala‐Gale,

SPTO’s new manager for Sustainable Tourism Development Christina Leala-Gale.

PRESS RELEASE

SPTO appoints new head of sustainable tourism

19 January 2016, Suva, FIJI – The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) has today announced the appointment of Christina Leala‐Gale, a Samoan, as its new Manager of Sustainable Tourism Development.

Ms Leala‐Gale will be responsible for strengthening SPTO’s work in the area of sustainable tourism development. She brings over 14 years of experience to the position.

In welcoming her to the organisation, Chief Executive Officer Chris Cocker said: “Christina joins SPTO with a wealth of experience in various areas such as sustainable development, tourism planning, project management and climate change to name a few. SPTO is indeed fortunate to have an asset like Christina to share her technical expertise and knowledge in the field of sustainable tourism development, which is an area of great importance to the Pacific Islands. The Sustainable Tourism Development Division is of course a new unit in SPTO and as we evolve to also undertake tourism development programs, I am pleased that we have qualified managers like Christina at the helm.”

“2017 is an important year for the Pacific and the entire global community and Christina has joined us at an opportune time to contribute to national, regional and global initiatives like the International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development. She will work closely with other regional agencies and development partners on a range of environmental issues including energy efficiency and reduction, climate change and disaster risk management and their links to sustainable tourism,” he added.

Ms Leala‐Gale joins SPTO from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Apia where she managed a regional project on reducing the vulnerability of community livelihoods to the impacts of climate change through improved national meteorological services in 14 Pacific Island countries.

Prior to that, she held a variety of positions over 10 years at Samoa Tourism Authority (STA), working on tourism planning and development, climate change adaptation in the tourism sector and managing the recovery of the Samoan tourism sector following the 2009 tsunami and Tropical Cyclone Evan in 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Information Systems from the University of the South Pacific.

“I am very pleased to be part of the team at SPTO and I look forward to working closely with our members and development partners on how we can improve in the area of sustainable tourism as a region,” she said.

Ms Leala‐Gale hails from Lepea village outside Apia, which is known for its sliding rocks, an eco- tourism activity that is managed by the community. She is joined in Suva by her husband and five children.

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


About SPTO

Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region. Its 18 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the People’s Republic of China. In addition to government members, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation enlists a private sector membership base.

 

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Alisi Lutu, Marketing Manager

South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO)

Email: alutu@spto.org or +679 3304177

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Solar Heaters

Thermal Solar water heating systems (MonoSun Technology Co.,Ltd. Advanced Solar Power,Phuket)

“The numbers of guests have doubled because thanks to the solar panels, the guest houses have functioning showers and warm water is made available for kitchen use,”says Marie Marku from Theth National Park in Albania.

Solar thermal systems use the sun’s light energy to heat water and can be especially efficient in heating water in areas where sunlight is abundant.  The technologies on the market are efficient and highly reliable, making solar power a simple, cost-effective, and sustainable means of heating water. Not only do solar heaters work well in areas where no other water heating options are available, it can also help to reduce operating costs and increase competitiveness. Many hotels in USA and the UK are using different forms of solar energy, with solar heaters as the most common form.

Using solar heaters can be particularly effective in Small Island States as most islands rely almost entirely on imported liquid fossil fuels for energy generation, with high costs of electricity. UNEP recently published a paper, “Solar Water Heating in the Tourism Industry with a Focus on the Caribbean Region,” highlighting the potential contribution of solar heating to reduce carbon emissions.

Facing increasing pressure to improve environmental performance and sustainability, using solar heating can be an efficient solution. Are you one of the businesses to use solar heaters for sustainability and efficiency purposes? If not, what are you waiting for?

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October 30 2015 – STA Travel Australia is working with charitable organisation, Soles4Souls Australia to raise awareness of the struggles facing disadvantaged men, women and children both locally and abroad, and encourage people to donate their kicks for a cause. Tara Sena-Becker Read more.


26 October 2015 – A marine reserve the size of California has just been declared around the tiny Micronesian islands of Palau.

If you’re a diver, you’re smiling right now.

In this massive reserve, the largest in the Pacific, there will be no fishing or mining, but plenty of world-class diving where fish, sharks, turtles and rays will be protected. Cayla Dengate Read more.

October 05 2015 – The words on the screen a few minutes ago, “We are killing ourselves,” it’s a dramatic and not insignificant statement.  But it has the virtue of being true.

  I am passionate about the oceans because I’m passionate about life and the oceans are life.  We would not survive. John Kerry Read more.