TRC’s Penny Spoelder and Natasha Paul are heading to the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Leadership Summit in Tahiti next week. They will be working together to deliver and facilitate workshops on the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Standards and Partnering for Success. Penny will also be a panelist, contributing to vital discussions on the economic empowerment of communities through inclusive tourism development and the power of partnerships. 


Session 1: Economic empowerment of communities through inclusive tourism development. Featuring Penny Spoelder in discussion with moderation CEO Tourism Authority of Kiribati. Session 5: The power of partnerships. Featuring Penny Spoelder as a panelist in discuss with CEO of Pacific Tourism Organisation.

Image: Penny is set to be a panelist in two session for the SPTO Summit. 


Over the past few years, TRC has been leading a suite of projects to support the sustainable transformation of the Pacific region’s tourism sector in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2021, we developed the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework (PSTPF) which sets out a shared regional tourism vision and the associated goals, policies and actions needed to transform the sector to make it more sustainable and ensure tourism’s benefits are better dispersed within and across all Pacific Island communities. The framework was endorsed by the Pacific Council of Tourism Ministers, who committed long-term support to rebuild and transform Pacific tourism so that it is resilient, prosperous, and more inclusive.  

Since then, we have continued to work with the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and regional stakeholders to implement their vision. An incredible nineteen countries in the region have publicly pledged their commitment to transforming to a more sustainable tourism future! 

Other projects we have worked on include: 

  • Providing communications support to help the region showcase their significant achievements to the world 
  • Developing a 3-year action plan for the SPTO to help them prioritise and map out their approach to delivering on the extensive suite of actions outlined in the Framework 
  • Developing a set of regional tourism destination and industry standards to provide direction and guidance for Pacific nations and their industry members to benchmark and assess their current performance and strengthen the sustainability of the sector in line with global best practices. This project was groundbreaking – there are no other GSTC-endorsed destination standards that apply to an entire region in the world. The standards will be officially launched at the summit next week. 
  • We are currently developing a set of guidelines to support the management, development and promotion of cultural tourism throughout the region, to foster greater inclusivity and prosperity to Pacific communities through tourism.  
  • We have conducted an assessment of World Heritage properties throughout the Pacific and provided a report to inform a broader sustainable tourism heritage destination strategy to drive concrete support and community engagement in World Heritage site management through tourism.  

It has been a privilege to work in ongoing partnership with the SPTO and its members to support tourism’s role as a driver of economic and community wellbeing. The Pacific Sustainable Tourism Leadership Summit marks another monumental stride for the region. TRC supported the SPTO with strategic advice and assistance to shape the program and use the event to generate an opportunity to bring together donors, development partners and other regional partners to collectively define the next steps in catalysing change in sustainable development of tourism throughout the Pacific. 

We are looking forward to sharing more updates from Tahiti. Tough job, but someone has to do it!