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Local Village Communities Of Ovalau Receive Training On Sustainable Tourism

Local Village Communities Of Ovalau Receive Training On Sustainable Tourism
Participants at the training with South PacificTourism Organisation’s sustainable tourism development manager Christina Leala-Gale (front-sitting-centre) in Levuka, Ovalau. Photo: South Pacific Tourism Organisation .
August 11
10:00 2018

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) in partnership with the Fiji Department of Heritage and Arts delivered a training workshop in Levuka, Ovalau last week focused on increasing community livelihood opportunities through sustainable tourism.

SPTO chief executive officer (CEO) Chris Cocker said the workshop was to assist communities to think about the potential of tourism-focused businesses and balancing them with sustaining the local environment (land and sea), community (way of life)  and culture (arts and heritage).

“Communities and the tourism industry in Levuka town and the island of Ovalau can capitalise on the status of Levuka as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site,” Mr Cocker said.

“We are keen advocates of sustainable tourism and delivering this training means increased awareness and participation of communities in environmental conservation efforts that support the sustainable development of tourism, this is the future of regional tourism, think local, act globally.”

Director of the Department of Heritage and Arts Collin Yabaki said: “The villages of Ovalau had expressed the need to be involved in tourism activities to provide an experience that complements the tour of the World Heritage Site, that is the Historical Port Town of Levuka.

“We want the people of Ovalau to experience the benefits of being located at the heart of a World Heritage Site, and that in increasing tourism will generate income and employment that will trickle down to the communities and villages.

“We want them to know that there is another option to the Pacific Fishing Company Limited (PAFCO). Foremost we want Ovalau to be able to provide a ‘heritage tourism’ experience as an aspect that will differentiate the island from other parts of Fiji.”

Fifty participants representing village development committees, women’s and youth groups from around the island of Ovalau attended the workshop which was officiated by the Roko Tui Lomaiviti, Ratu Penijamini Velitokaduadua.

Addressing the participants, Mr Penijamini emphasised the importance of educating and creating awareness amongst communities on the value and benefits from tourism development.

“Programmes such as this need to be extended to the outer islands of Lomaiviti to inspire tourism business development,” Mr Penijamini said.

The training was supported through the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office Fiji and was delivered through presentations and interactive group exercises, role-playing, talanoa and storytelling.

Feedback:  maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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