Kiribati protects Phoenix Islands: Tourism Advisory Committee is organizing a retreat

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The Republic of Kiribati has taken the commendable step of declaring the Phoenix Islands archipelago and surrounding waters, an area of 410,500 sq. km., as the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) and is under the UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Tourism Advisory sub-committee is organizing a Retreat to be held at Tokaraetina Lodge in North Tarawa on Friday, 15th January returning Sunday the 17th January where they are going to review and update the existing Phoenix Island Protected Area [PIPA] Management Plan developed 7 years ago for the formulation of the PIPA Eco-tourism Investment Strategy.

This document once completed is going to serve as a comprehensive guideline for potential investors interested in undertaking investments in Kanton.

It is expected that this PIPA Eco-tourism and Investment Strategy will have been completed and ready to be used early 2018.

The major task this time is on the formulation of the Kiribati PIPA Eco-Tourism Investment Guideline (KPETIG).

The main purpose of the KPETIG is to guide the Government of Kiribati and the private sector to see at a snapshot key investment areas that can help Kanton Island – the PIPA Hub quickly rise into a global eco-tourism and research centre.

The PIPA where Kanton is located is World Heritage Site and is Protected Area so the KPETIG is expected to put at its center conservation and preservation of the PIPA and all natural and heritage assets with universal significance. Phoenix Islands Protected Area- the largest and deepest marine protected area under the UNESCO World Heritage site

The declaration by Kribati and publicity surrounding PIPA interest in tourism, particularly dive tourism, is increasing.

Tourism is seen as a potential source of sustainable income for GOK and PIPA.

A PIPA Tourism Advisory Committee (PTAC) was established in 2014 by the PIPA Management Committee (PMC) and chaired by the Director of Tourism. The main objective of the PTAC is to provide sound advice to the PMC on matters related with PIPA eco-tourism to generate income and employment opportunities and also to provide advice on most effective marketing strategies to promote eco-tourism activities in PIPA.

In 2015 the PMC endorsed catch and release gamefishing as one of the new tourism activity in PIPA. Other tourist activities include diving, birdwatching and sightseeing of historical, heritage monuments.

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.