17 April 2000
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
Special Body on Pacific Island Developing Countries
30 and 31 May 2000
TRANSPORT ISSUES IN PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES
(Item 4 of the provisional agenda)
SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN THE PACIFIC
Note by the secretariat
In an effort to reduce public expenditure and explore potential management and operational efficiency gains,
many governments in the Pacific have adopted policies to facilitate private sector participation and partnership.
As in other subregions, this has already resulted in the private sector actively investing in facilities, managing
operations and providing services in the transport and tourism sectors. However, owing to the special
characteristics of the subregion, the private sector alone cannot successfully achieve or maintain the economic,
social and environmental targets which are crucial if healthy and sustainable development is to be achieved.
The Special Body may wish to urge its members to take action in addressing the issues highlighted in this
I. INTER-ISLAND SHIPPING ....................................................................................................... 1
A. Current domestic shipping operations ................................................................................. 2
B. Issues and constraints confronting inter-island shipping services ...................................... 2
II. SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES ......... 7
A. The status of tourism in the South Pacific ........................................................................... 7
B. Aspects in which governments need to take the lead .......................................................... 9
III. ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATION .............................................................................................. 12
LIST OF TABLES
1. Tourist arrivals in selected economies of the Pacific, 1990-1996 ......................................... 8
2. Total earnings from tourists in selected economies of the Pacific, 1990-1996 .......................... 9
1. The Asian and Pacific region consists of a diverse range of subregions, each confronting
problems related to economic and social development, some of which are common, while others have
more specific needs and circumstances. The Pacific subregion has several well-known characteristics
that will continue to make it very special, including relatively small populations, with communities
located on many scattered islands, economic reliance on agriculture and fisheries, and limited industrial
or trading opportunities. Together, these rather permanent characteristics represent a formidable
challenge for the transport sector owing to the huge distances, high costs and limited availability of
highly seasonal revenue-generating cargo and passenger traffic. At the same time, it is these same
characteristics of the South Pacific that create such a powerful magnet for tourism, which overcomes
concerns of distance and cost owing to the overwhelming attraction of unspoiled natural beauty and the
absence of pollution.
2. As in other subregions, the private sector is investing actively in facilities, managing operations
and providing services in the transport and tourism sectors in the Pacific. However, owing to the special
characteristics of the subregion, the private sector alone cannot successfully achieve or maintain the
economic, social and environmental targets which are crucial if healthy and sustainable development is
to be achieved.
3. The present document reviews briefly some of the institutional and operational issues faced by
the Pacific island countries within the transport and tourism sectors, which need to be addressed if
policies to promote public and private sector partnership are to be successful in achieving their
I. INTER-ISLAND SHIPPING
4. Inter-island shipping plays a crucial role in providing the fundamental means of transportation
in the South Pacific. However, services are handicapped by long distances between sparsely populated
islands and the seasonal demand for the movement of small quantities of cargo and passenger traffic
which reaches peak levels at certain times of the year. The limited revenues available to shipowners
place them in a financially difficult situation in which they are often unable to replace obsolete and
sometimes unsafe vessels. As a result, the average age of the fleet in the Pacific is excessive and even
second-hand ships newly brought into service are in many cases of an age and condition which are far
5. International and regional trade routes in the South Pacific are serviced by the Pacific Forum
Line and by foreign-owned shipping companies. The trade is very largely containerized and carried in
modern vessels which provide island countries with reasonably adequate international services.
6. Domestic trades, on the other hand, are served by a variety of small domestically owned
shipping companies from within both the government and the private sector. The majority of ships are
old and services, in many cases, are insufficient for national needs.
7. The importance of inter-island shipping services to outlying communities and small island
economies, and the problems of achieving commercial viability and minimum levels of safety cannot be
overstressed. The South Pacific governments, most of which have already decided to encourage the
private sector to provide services, need to take action to facilitate the more healthy development of
domestic fleets and encourage and support the private sector in the replacement of ageing vessels.
A. Current domestic shipping operations
8. In 1997, ESCAP updated an earlier report prepared by the Forum Secretariat which described
the Pacific fleet. It classified ships under four broad headings: conventional passenger/cargo vessels,
landing craft, roll-on roll-off passenger ferries and coastal tankers. As different methods of
measurement are employed by each of the Pacific island countries, making gross tonnage virtually
meaningless as a means of comparison, overall length was used as the criterion of size.
9. It may be useful to note that international insurance companies class ships as “overage” if they
are 15 years old. After that age, insurance premiums increase rapidly owing to safety considerations. In
the Pacific domestic fleet study, it was found that over half of the vessels were more than 20 years old
and very few ships were insured. This problem appears to be common to nearly all countries.
B. Issues and constraints confronting inter-island shipping services
10. In an effort to reduce expenditure and explore the efficiency of private sector management and
operations, many governments in the Pacific have already withdrawn or are in the process of
withdrawing from the operation of inter-island shipping services. While in many countries this
approach has met with a measure of success, and certainly reduced government expenditure, it is widely
recognized that, owing to limited commercial earnings, the age and condition of vessels operating in the
Pacific fleet are far from desirable. Healthy fleet development will not be achieved unless governments
decide to provide fiscal support to the industry, particularly where operations are not commercially
11. Domestic shipping operators, particularly small companies, operate on very small profit
margins, making it virtually impossible to accumulate sufficient capital to finance new tonnage. Their
capacity to borrow sufficient funds from commercial services at reasonable rates of interest is similarly
constrained. In an effort to reduce capital costs to an affordable level, ship operators are therefore forced
onto the second-hand (or more often third- or fourth-hand) market, to purchase old ships which are
frequently of an unsuitable size and type for the trade in which they are to be engaged. Domestic
shipping services are therefore moving into a downward spiral with ever-older ships carrying out
progressively more inefficient, and sometimes unsafe, operations.
12. Age is not necessarily the main criterion for determining the condition of a ship, but age
combined with low standards of maintenance is a recipe for disaster. There are widespread reports of
inadequate repair facilities in the region, particularly in those countries which are situated in more
remote locations. There are also concerns in many cases about the high cost of repairs and the standard
of workmanship. The supply of spare parts is also a major problem owing to the variety of supply
sources of main engines and auxiliary machinery and equipment, some of which are no longer in
13. The net cumulative effect is more rapid deterioration of vessels already aged and subject to
severe climatic conditions. In some cases, owing to a lack of facilities within the Pacific, owners are
forced to send larger vessels to Pacific Rim countries such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand for
docking and repairs, incurring considerable extra costs and down time.
14. Smaller companies in the South Pacific, particularly in the shipping sector, face many
management constraints. In particular, second- and third-generation single shipowner/operating
families, although they have good seafaring skills, have little knowledge or even awareness of
management techniques or modern methods of operation; as a result, they lack the business skills
required to develop financial proposals, thus further reducing their limited accessibility to resources
through commercial lending institutions.
15. Safety standards are still very low in the Pacific and fall below not only those required
internationally but even those agreed by the countries on a regional basis in the form of the South
Pacific Maritime Code. Apart from the difficulties in maintaining the hulls and machinery of old ships,
there are also frequent reports of deficiencies in safety equipment, all reasons why even minimal
insurance coverage is beyond the reach of many operators.
16. The issues and constraints confronting inter-island shipping services can be addressed under the
headings of regulation; control and enforcement; and support of domestic shipping operations.
17. All of the Pacific island governments have legislation regulating the operation of vessels
engaged in the domestic trade. The basic purpose behind such legislation is threefold:
(a) To reserve the trade to national carriers except where some particular circumstances, such
as the requirement for a specialized type of vessel, may create a need for the entry of a foreign flag
(b) To prevent over-tonnaging in the domestic trade with the consequences flowing from too
many ships chasing too little cargo;
(c) To ensure the provision of adequate services, not only in the more lucrative “inner-
island” trades, where large volumes of cargo and passengers are offered, but also in the “outer-island”
trades, where distances are vast and little in the way of traffic or commercial incentives exists.
18. It does not appear that these objectives are being fulfilled at the present time. Over-tonnaging
appears to be prevalent, especially in the larger shipping countries, while the supply of services to the
outer islands has become a critical social and economic problem. The introduction of route-licensing
systems has not been successful and the control of freight rates and passenger fares in some countries is
another aspect which needs re-examination.
2. Control and enforcement
19. While each of the Pacific countries has an extensive range of regulations which encompass
safety, enforcement is problematic for several reasons. For example, with relatively small fleets it is not
always a viable proposition to retain a fully trained and qualified ship surveyor in each country. Even
when there is a surveyor, to accommodate unavoidable operational problems related to the limited
availability of spare parts for older ships, their long delivery lead times and pressure to maintain at least
minimum services, the issuance of arrest notices, when ships are found not to be fully seaworthy, is rare.
Similarly, individual vessels are licensed to carry a maximum number of passengers, but with service
frequencies of up to six weeks, the highly seasonal demand, and commercial pressure to increase
revenues, overloading of passengers is common.
3. Support of domestic shipping operations
20. All these matters require attention if domestic shipping services are to be upgraded in terms of
efficiency and safety; however, with the limited commercial options available it would appear that
constructive government intervention, along with private sector initiatives, is essential. There are
several areas in which this can be considered, some of which could have immediate benefits while
others would take more time to implement; these include:
(a) Fiscal support for commercially non-viable services at the domestic level;
(b) Pooling of resources and harmonization at the subregional level;
(c) Human resources development at the national and regional levels.
(a) Fiscal support for commercially non-viable services
21. To ensure inter-island shipping services that are affordable, the majority of island countries
employ pricing controls. Some countries apply subsidy schemes which reward operators when they
collect cargo from remote islands. Unfortunately, these approaches do not always provide sufficient
incentives or compensation; for example, owing to freight ceilings and the limited availability of cargo,
ship operators wait until they believe cargo has accumulated, and only then do they make the journey to
the remote locations. At the same time, should the operator have judged the timing of his call correctly,
he would pick up a full load, giving him a financially viable voyage, but he would still receive the
subsidy at a time when additional compensation might not be required.
22. In order to ensure government objectives of maintaining regular services to remote islands, an
alternative approach which could be considered is franchising. Under franchising schemes, the
government selects specific routes and the minimum frequency of calls and capacity to be provided to
selected locations over a franchise period, which would not normally be less than one year and could
advantageously be considerably longer. Competent operators are then invited to bid for the franchise to
provide this service. The form of the bid would include details of the type of ship to be deployed, and
the minimum services provided, including guaranteed frequency and capacity. Also in the bid would be
a financial component in which the operator would request payment from the government to compensate
the operator for providing the service. This financial component would take into account the income
that would be derived from cargo and passenger revenues on the franchised and, possibly, adjacent
routes. Under normal circumstances the franchise would be awarded to the lowest bidder.
23. The advantages of this approach are that:
(a) It is commercially competitive, with all qualified operators being invited to bid;
(b) It is transparent, with evaluation being based on predefined criteria;
(c) It ensures minimum level and frequency of service irrespective of the cargo carried;
(d) It maintains competition on the franchised route as the service is not a monopoly or
route licence, other operators being able to provide services even though they do not receive
(e) It provides a contractual arrangement with minimum income which the ship operator may
use as collateral with a bank when financing the purchase of a new vessel.
(b) Pooling of resources and harmonization at the subregional level
24. Establishment of a regional pool of ship surveyors. To ensure that adequately trained and
competent surveyors are available to inspect ships, while at the same time reducing costs and ensuring
that fleet upgrading is actually achieved, there could be considerable advantage in establishing a
regional pool of ship surveyors. As a preliminary exercise, surveyors from neighbouring countries
could work together on an exchange basis, with leading surveyors being seconded on a rotational basis.
The details of such an approach would perhaps best be worked out through a regional meeting of
25. Harmonization of ship specifications. The inter-island shipping task in many of the Pacific
island countries is quite similar and there could be considerable advantage in harmonizing ship
specifications. This could include, for example, engines, generators, pumps and winches and even be
extended to the adoption of generic hull designs built in various lengths to meet specific capacity
requirements. Such an approach could make joint purchasing programmes possible with substantial
savings and at the same time dramatically reduce the spares inventory costs and delivery times, as spares
could be held in only one or two locations to service the whole Pacific. Familiarity in the shipyards with
the common specification would also reduce the need for training and raise the quality of workmanship.
26. Common ship-repair facilities. The lack of adequate repair facilities in the Pacific region,
particularly in those countries which are situated in more remote locations, necessitates some ships
having to be dry-docked in New Zealand or even further afield. The cost of these facilities, the voyage
time (usually in ballast), forgone revenues and disruption to services constitute a heavy penalty to pay.
An alternative which requires further review is the establishment or strengthening of existing ship-repair
facilities within one or two of the Pacific island countries, to match the demands of the region as a
27. Establishment of a regional ship-financing/acquisition programme. A problem confronting
ship operators in nearly all of the Pacific island countries is the limited access to financing and the
relatively high rates of interest. To help overcome this problem, the countries of the Pacific could
consider establishing a regional ship-financing facility which bilateral donors and organizations such as
the Asian Development Bank could be encouraged to establish. However, although donors may be
interested in supporting such a facility, it is important for the countries themselves to take an initiative
which will clearly demonstrate their commitment to bringing about real change in the inter-island
shipping sector. Such commitment would include not only addressing fleet modernization needs which
could include contributing seed money but also creating an appropriate policy and institutional
environment in which efficient and sustainable shipping operations are ensured.
(c) Human resources development at the national and regional levels
28. Management training for inter-island shipping operators. In many of the commercial sectors of
the Pacific there is an urgent need to upgrade management skills and provide at least basic management
training. This is the case in the inter-island shipping industry, where long family traditions have ensured
a constant supply of seafarers who are prepared to provide essential services within the transport sector.
Unfortunately, while these families have excellent navigating skills, their business acumen is very
limited. At the regional level, and within each country, there is an urgent need to provide basic business
training for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. Owing to the nature and traditions of the people
who need training, this could best be achieved through the development at the regional level, and
delivery at the national level, of core business courses which could be adapted to meet the needs of
specific industries. This would provide the opportunity to use specific and relevant case studies which
would demonstrate the practical benefits of the new skills and assist trainees in applying the knowledge
within their industry.
II. SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES
29. The tourism industry is making a significant contribution to the economies of many
developing Pacific island countries. Revenues from international tourist arrivals have become the
principal or major source of foreign exchange for several Pacific destinations, such as Cook Islands,
Fiji, French Polynesia, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. Being a highly labour-intensive industry,
tourism also plays a significant role in generating employment opportunities and helping reduce the
unemployment rates in many countries. It is now recognized by an increasing number of
governments as an important means of expanding their economic base through its linkages with the
agricultural, industrial and service sectors. It has also been found to help reduce regional disparities
in income and employment, since areas suitable for tourism development are often situated away
from the main centres of economic activity.
30. A factor which makes tourism particularly attractive to Pacific governments is that the majority
of investments in tourism infrastructure, such as hotels, resorts, pleasure craft and golf courses, are
largely made by the private sector. However, with the beautiful yet fragile ecosystem in the Pacific and
the need to support what is still a fledgling industry in many countries, it is imperative that the
development of tourism be carefully planned and managed so that the socio-economic benefits can be
fully explored, the adverse impacts minimized and appropriate support provided.
A. The status of tourism in the South Pacific
31. With the limited number of opportunities for industry in the Pacific, the tourism sector provides
a particularly important source of employment and foreign currency earnings, either directly or in
related sectors, such as the airline business. As can be seen from table 1, which provides an overview of
the most recent, regionally comparable data, tourist arrivals in most of the Pacific island countries have
registered regular growth over recent years, which has averaged around 5 per cent a year. Some of the
islands, however, and particularly Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, have achieved annual
growth rates well in excess of 10 per cent.
Table 1. Tourist arrivals in selected economies of the Pacific, 1990-1996
Countries or areas 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Cook Islands 34 40 50 53 57 49 49
Fiji 279 259 279 287 319 318 340
French Polynesia 132 121 124 148 166 172 164
Guam 780 737 877 784 1 087 1 362 1 363
Kiribati 3 3 4 4 4 3 3
Marshall Islands 5 7 8 5 5 6 6
New Caledonia 87 81 78 81 85 86 91
Northern Mariana Islands 435 430 505 546 596 676 737
Papua New Guinea 41 37 43 34 39 42 61
Solomon Islands 9 11 12 12 12 12 11
Tonga 21 22 23 26 28 29 27
Vanuatu 35 40 43 44 42 44 46
Source: Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific, 1998 (United Nations publication, Sales No.
32. In parallel with tourist arrivals, earnings from the sector, as reported in the Statistical Yearbook
for Asia and the Pacific, have been substantial. However, the lack of recent information and
inconsistency in reporting make detailed analysis difficult. Even so, it is apparent from the available
data that some of the islands, including Fiji, French Polynesia and the Northern Mariana Islands, have
been particularly successful in promoting their tourism industry. In most cases this has been achieved
through a public/private sector partnership approach in which governments have taken a lead in, for
example, promoting the country as a destination, and ensuring regular and convenient flights and
adequate infrastructure. This would also appear to indicate that even though the islands are confronted
with common problems related to geographical isolation and resulting high transport costs, a concerted
and collaborative effort on the part of government and the private sector can prevail. It would also
appear to indicate that there is considerable scope for regional cooperation that can be mutually
beneficial, for example by promoting multi-destination tourism packages which would, perhaps, make
holidays in the Pacific even more attractive to tourists seeking “value for money”. Available figures for
tourist revenues are reported in table 2.
Table 2. Total earnings from tourists in selected economies of the Pacific, 1990-1996
(millions of US dollars)
Countries or areas 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Cook Islands 16 21 27 33 40 .. 50
Fiji 199 194 210 225 279 283 299
French Polynesia 171 150 170 200 235 260 280
Guam 936 1 093 1 579 950 .. .. ..
Kiribati 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Marshall Islands .. 3 3 3 3 3 3
New Caledonia 94 94 93 95 102 .. 109
Northern Mariana Islands 455 450 528 537 584 655 ..
Papua New Guinea 41 41 49 45 55 60 68
Solomon Islands 4 5 6 6 .. 13 ..
Tonga 9 10 9 10 10 11 13
Vanuatu 76 128 145 137 139 145 ..
Source: Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific, 1998 (United Nations publication, Sales No.
Note: Two dots (..) indicate that data are not available.
33. Governments in the Pacific recognize that in pursuing the sustainable development of tourism
they face major challenges. One body (for example, the government) cannot provide all the
infrastructure needs and manage the tourism industry alone. While governments are passing more and
more responsibilities to the private sector, many will remain in their domain.
B. Aspects in which governments need to take the lead
34. Although tourism is predominantly managed by the private sector, governments will continue
to play a major role in both the development and the ongoing operation of the industry. Maximizing
the economic benefits for the nation, protecting the national heritage, culture and the environment, all
require the involvement of government and national tourism administrations. Some of the specific
areas in which ongoing support and guidance are required are set out below.
1. Policy and strategy
35. Government involvement through policy and planning is vital to provide a supportive
environment for the development and operation of tourism, while seeking to secure national interests,
ensure environmental sustainability and sustain cultures. While it has been traditional for plans and
policies to be determined by governments with little contribution from the industry itself, this approach
has not always been successful. For the Pacific and other regions of the world, a constructive
participatory approach within which governments involve the private sector, non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) and regional and local government in bodies that advise on policy and planning
can provide major advantages in ensuring that policies are responsive to the actual rather than the
perceived needs of industry.
36. In many countries, governments assume a legislative role to regulate the tourism industry,
impose standards and control the growth of supply. Examples of tourism legislation include the
licensing of travel agencies and statutory hotel registration and classification. In recent times, there
has been a trend towards increasing government involvement in legislation designed for the
protection of consumer rights or of the natural environment and national heritage. For example, the
Australian Tourist Commission is required by law to have at least one member on its board
experienced in the impact of environmental issues on tourism. To ensure consumer satisfaction,
perhaps the strongest marketing mechanism, Pacific island governments need to ensure that the
quality of the tourism package meets expectations.
37. In countries of the Pacific where tourism is still at an early stage of development, government
investment in the development of infrastructure to kick-start the industry is essential. This encompasses
both general infrastructure, such as roads, water and power supplies, and infrastructure specifically for
tourism. The infrastructure development role of governments is common to most countries at the early
stage of their tourism development. Once the industry develops, the government’s role in providing
infrastructure is likely to be reduced and to be partly devolved to regional or local authorities.
38. An important lesson learned in many countries, however, and one which is critical to the Pacific
with its strong emphasis on marine activities, is the provision of adequate water, sanitation and waste
disposal facilities. The concentration of tourists within a small geographic area and with foreign
consumption habits can place a very heavy burden on existing infrastructure which, if inadequate, can
win the destination a bad reputation that is very hard to change.
39. Government taxation policies affect tourism demand and supply, irrespective of whether these
policies relate to the economy as a whole or apply only to tourism. Taxation increases the price of
tourism products and services. There are cases in which governments have increased taxation, with the
consequence that demand has fallen to such an extent that the government’s taxation revenue has fallen
below the level prior to the tax increase. In some countries, for example Kenya and Zimbabwe,
governments apply specific taxes to the tourism industry and use the revenue to assist the development
of the sector. Such an approach could be applied in the Pacific by utilizing airport charges to help fund
the development of new airport facilities or a tax on tourism businesses used to support training
facilities or for tourism promotion.
40. The issuance of visas provides governments with a tool for regulating, among other things,
migration and the volume and origin of inbound tourists. Through the administration of visas,
governments aim to maintain national security and, in some cases, to sustain the carrying capacity of the
destination’s environmental, social and cultural resources. However, the ease or complexity and cost
involved in obtaining a visa have a direct impact on tourism demand. Lengthy and expensive visa
procedures divert a high proportion of tourists who have a choice of destination towards other
alternatives. For the Pacific, particularly with the travel distances involved, opportunities for
collaboration between the countries in creating one-stop visa application systems for two or more
destinations within the region could be highly beneficial to the industry.
41. The job-creation potential of tourism, as well as the need to raise standards, has led many
national tourism administrations around the world to facilitate tourism training and development
programmes for the local population. This has supported the growth and development of tourism both
directly and indirectly. Within the Pacific subregion, a cost-effective approach to upgrading training
capabilities could be through intercountry cooperation to create or strengthen subregional training
capacity. A starting point for such an approach could be to invite the larger tourism destination
countries, such as Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, where substantial
training capacity is already in place, to share their training expertise and skills with other countries at an
earlier stage of tourism development. This could be highly beneficial, as the training provided would be
culturally sensitive to the specific needs of the Pacific islands.
42. In the context of training, it may be useful to note the existence of the Network of Asia-
Pacific Education and Training Institutes in Tourism (APETIT), established by ESCAP in 1997.
Fifty-eight tourism education and training institutes in 27 countries and areas in the Asian and Pacific
region, including Australia, Fiji, Guam, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Samoa, have already
joined and are participating in the activities of APETIT. Other tourism education and training
institutes in the Pacific region are encouraged to participate in APETIT.
7. Promotion and marketing
43. One of the largest tasks and items of expenditure for national tourism administrations is that of
promotion and marketing tourism, including market research. In most countries, the small and
fragmented nature of the industry makes it impossible for the private sector to fulfil this role effectively.
There is also the danger that marketing undertaken solely by the private sector will be driven by the
interests of major operators, possibly at the expense of smaller businesses, regional interests and start-up
44. Governments in the Pacific are coming to the recognition that marketing tourism, that is,
promoting an attractive image of the country in foreign markets, benefits other sectors of the economy
as well, thereby justifying substantial expenditure by the central government. Experience in many
countries of the world indicates that when governments do seek to reduce their budgets by introducing
private sector funds, they still need to contribute more than half the total marketing budget if the
national image is to be projected effectively.
8. Market research and collation of statistics
45. For many Pacific island countries, the tourism sector comprises small to medium-sized
operators. These enterprises lack the funds to carry out research in national or international markets. At
the national level, the private sector does not have the scope or interest to prepare comprehensive
statistics. These outputs, which are the responsibility of all Pacific governments, are critical in
positioning the tourism product and creating awareness among policy makers of the great contribution
that the tourism industry makes to the economy.
III. ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATION
46. In both the transport and tourism sectors, there is a vital ongoing role which governments have
to fulfil and in which government support will continue to be an essential element if continued growth is
to be achieved. In some cases, this can best be addressed at the national level; however, as indicated
earlier, there are a number of issues that can be addressed at the regional or subregional level, to the
advantage of all. The Special Body may wish to urge its members to take action in addressing the issues
(1) Within the inter-island shipping sector, three key areas need to be addressed by
governments: the provision of fiscal support for commercially non-viable services; the
pooling of resources and harmonization at the subregional level; and human resources
development at the national and regional levels. This document has proposed several areas in
which governments could beneficially take a more proactive approach to support the healthy
development of the inter-island shipping industry (paras. 16-20).
(2) Similarly, within the tourism sector, several areas in which governments need to
provide ongoing support and guidance have been highlighted. Specifically to support countries
in meeting these challenges, ESCAP, in April 1999, launched the Plan of Action for Sustainable
Tourism Development in the Asian and Pacific Region. The Plan is premised on the
responsibility of governments and all stakeholders in the tourism sector to ensure that long-term
prosperity and the quality of life of future generations are not placed at risk. The Plan sets forth
proposals for action at the national level and support action at the regional level in the following
six theme areas: (a) human resources development in the tourism sector; (b) the economic
impact of tourism; (c) environmental management of tourism; (d) infrastructure development
and investment for the tourism sector; (e) facilitation of travel; and (f) regional and subregional
cooperation in tourism development. Within the Plan, strong emphasis has been placed on the
need for regional and subregional cooperation in order to share experience, expertise and
facilities, an area to which the governments of the Pacific may wish to give further
consideration (paras. 34-45).
(3) The governments of the Pacific island countries may also wish to address some of the
other issues, such as marketing, taxation, visa issuance etc., to promote tourism (paras. 34-45).