Created in 1980, the South Pacific Tourism Organization is dedicated to assisting each organization involved in South Pacific tourism and travel, regardless of its size and scope of activities. However, it is far more than just a tourist organization. The international and regional membership of SPTO encompasses National Tourist Offices, resorts, hotels, coach operators, car rental companies, travel agents, airline and cruise operators among other businesses involved in the tourism and travel in the South Pacific.
SPTO's member nations are characterized by such features as limited resource base, small populations and remoteness from the major world markets. And despite the fact that the level of economic development of SPTO members varies widely, none of them are industrialized nations. The organization gives preference to new investments, capable of creating employment, increasing export earning, reducing cost of imports, conserve the cultural heritage and environment, and exert positive impact on economic development.
The South Pacific Tourism Organization's members are provided with a stunning array of benefits and services, designed to empower them to promote services and products to the sources of business.
Since its establishment, SPTO has been committed to the development and promotion of the South Pacific as a popular vacation destination on the international tourism arena. The organization's members benefit from this commitment, offered a wide range of services in the spheres of research, marketing, policy and planning and membership services. The latter include member discounts, banner advertising, photo library, database marketing and regional tourism conference.
Among other SPTO membership benefits are: promotion of each member's product on its own page of the SPTO web site; banner advertising on the SPTO web site; priority placement in the product listings of SPTO; subscription to Quarterly Magazine and Weekly Newsletter; use of SPTO logo; access to the regional South Pacific Photo Library of images; access to Market Intelligence Report; annual statistics summary; access to reduced web hosting fees and a variety of other discounts and member rates for the organization's training and marketing activities.
The supreme governing body of SPTO is the Council of Tourism Ministers, whose major functions include reviewing and monitoring the organization's strategies, policies, budgets and work programs. The Council meets annually. Composed of six representatives from the Tourism Industry Members and one representative from each of member countries, a Board of Directors bears responsibility for the general administration of financial and operational policies of SPTO and implements policies approved by the Council of Ministers.
Appointed by the Board of Directors is the Chief Executive, who carries out the organization's day-to-day administrative functions. The Board meets tree times a year. The South Pacific Tourism Organization is funded by annual contributions from its member states, donor agency funds and private sector member fees.