Key Partner at Kiribati Development Partners Forum


The South Pacific Tourism Organisation was invited by the Government of Kiribati through its Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to participate as a key partner at its Development Partners Forum, which was held in Tarawa in June.

The forum was centred on the theme ‘Investing in Everyone for Sustainable Wealth, Health and Peace through Partnerships’.

“With tourism being one of the two key priorities in the KV20  (Kiribati 20 Year Vision Framework), SPTO was identified as a key partner to participate at the forum in light of the priority the new Government has placed on the development of Kiribati, we are committed to supporting our SIS member countries” said SPTO Chief Executive, Chris Cocker.

In his opening statement, His Excellency, President Taneti Maamau said  as a government, Kiribati believes that the KV20 will enable transformative development for Kiribati and that should harness the full potentials from the fisheries and tourism sectors.

The two day event was attended by SPTO Manager Sustainable Tourism Development Christina Leala Gale and was aimed at bringing together development partners, donors and CROP agencies to learn about the progress as well as priorities of the Kiribati Government in the coming years and exchange of information that will support resource mobilisation for the country.

“One of the key outcomes from our participation at the forum was the recognition of SPTO as a key partner in the National Working Group for Pillar One (Wealth) where it will work together with national stakeholders (Kiribati National Tourism Office (KNTO), Air Kiribati, Department of Culture, NZ Volunteer Services Abroad and others) in defining the next steps in pursuit of sustainable tourism opportunities” said Mr Cocker.

The Kiribati Government’s vision is clear, Sustainable Tourism and Fisheries will be the two main sectors driving the development efforts of the country for the next 20 years.

“ Sustainable tourism for Kiribati would be in the area of Cultural and Natural Heritage and we are excited to be a key partner is playing a strategic role in helping the government of Kiribati achieving this vision” said Mr Cocker.

Also addressed at the forum was continuous strengthening of telecommunication and transportation services to outer islands is planned, investment in human capital is the most important in realizing the transformation of the country 
and a key challenge is to transform an incoherent public service delivery to an efficient and responsive public service that is people centred.

SPTO would like to congratulate the Government and People of Kiribati for the excellent coordination of the forum and the warm hospitality extended to SPTO and the development partners.

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.